January Degustabox

January Degustabox

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

When I received January’s Degustabox for review a couple weeks ago, the weather was freezing and I remember looking at all of the savory items and thinking they would pair well with some hot bowls of soup!

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January items!

So with the weather right now being warm and sunny, it feels like I received this package ages ago!

The edamame spaghetti was one of my favorites. For meal prep, I basically soaked a serving in some water overnight to get the noodles into a relaxed texture.

edamame spaghetti
Explore Cuisine – Organic Edamame Spaghetti

When I came home at the end of the day, I drained the water and combined it with soup! Mixed with a warm lentil or tomato bisque, I had some pretty blissful noodle bowls that could compete with what you’d find at a ramen shop 😛

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Mixed with tomato bisque soup :9

Maya Kaimal Naan Chips were also good in soup! Since my box came with two packs of the sea salt flavor, I eagerly crushed up one of the bags and used it to top some lentil bean soup. So comforting, crunchy, and warm!

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Maya Kaimal Naan Chips

I had to pass on the Go Organically fruit snacks since they contained gelatin, but my labmates had no problem finishing those up for me!

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Go Organically Fruit Medley Snacks

Uncle Dougie’s Wicked Good Marinade looked like a thicker sauce than it actually turned out to be. It had a strong, tangy flavor from all of the vinegar poured in (distilled malt and distilled regular vinegar), not to mention the assortment of peppers (Sweet Bell Peppers, Cayenne Peppers, Chile Peppers, Fresh Ground Black Peppers…)

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Uncle Dougie’s Wicked Good Marinade

Of course, I used it as a dressing for my crockpot veggie bowl like I always do, and I actually like it as a dressing for baked potatoes. (I should note that with this box, you would either receive Uncle Dougie’s or Maya Kaimal Naan Chips, and that I received both in order to construct this review).

I’ve loved every single one of the Loacker products that Degustabox has featured over time, and this white chocolate bar with a wafer texture on the inside was no exception.

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Loacker White Chocolate Crispy Wafer

It looked like a solid, unassuming white chocolate bar on the outside, but it was all light and crispy wafer on the inside! Melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

The Monini Originale EVOO bottle I received was a huge, 500ml one, and I “gifted” it to my sister since she could use it for some wide-range kitchen experiments. She made popcorn from scratch (at least starting with the kernels, lol), but persoanlly didn’t notice a difference in the taste. But looking at that bowl, seems like the kernels popped up nicely!

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Monini Originale Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I also had my sister try these Cello Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps, and while they looked crater-like with no actual density to them, they packed a powerful, cheesy punch! Too much for even my cheese-chocolate-and-bread-loving sister.

Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps
Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps

If she had made her batch of popcorn at the same time I tried Boon Chicka Pop’s Sea Salt flavor, maybe it would have made for a good taste test. While these kernels had a good amount of salt, that was pretty much it. Not sure what else made this popcorn bag unique from the others.

BOOMCHICKAPOP Sea Salt Popcorn
BOOMCHICKAPOP Sea Salt Popcorn

The Wasa Rosemary and Sea Salt Thins were very crispy and fragrant, haha! There was definitely a rosemary scent to these! I used them similarly to the naan chips as a crumbled topping on crockpot veggies.

Wasa Thins Rosemary & Sea Salt
Wasa Thins Rosemary & Sea Salt

The small sample packs of Crown Maple Sugar were enough to win me over as a fan! The sugar was finely-ground, a warm brown color, and I could see it being a sweetner or added to anything that requires white sugar—coffee, baking, oatmeal, the options are endless.

crown sugar
Crown Maple Sugar

I was never a fruit cup kind of person so maybe I’m biased, but I wasn’t a fan of these Dole fruit cups. It was interesting to find that these particular cups had fruit cubes soaked in coconut water, but they didn’t taste like mangoes to me. I personally could not detect any discernible flavor at all, and rather just noted a chewy, bland consistency.

Dole "Pineapple, Peach & Mango" in Slightly Sweetened Coconut Water
Dole Peach & Mango Fruit Cups in Slightly Sweetened Coconut Water

I think it’s safe to say this month’s box had a great assortment of products to try! Which ones would you think would be your favorites?

Speedy for Smoothie (Bowls)

Speedy for Smoothie (Bowls)

Last Sunday proved to me why running in a group or with a team makes all the difference. I ran a little under 6 miles at a solid 7:30/mi pace, and was able to maintain my pacing without completely blowing out of steam! Marathon training has picked up yet again, and I’m trying to make all of the runs with my team high quality workouts.

Also working to not get left behind of the pack is a good motivator too 😉

I was really proud of my efforts, and for lunch had to walk at least another three miles once in Santa Monica. It was way too hot to be October, and I had to get to a place that offered something cool and refreshing pronto.

Kreation Cafe on Montana Ave.
Kreation Cafe on Montana Ave.

My first visit to a Kreation Cafe/Juicery was a great one. I cooled off with an irresistible bowl full of nutrient-dense fruits and healthy fats, on what was an extremely hot day. Made sense that my second visit was on a day just as hot.

Crowded quarters.
Crowded quarters.

Unlike my first visit, there wasn’t any seating on the inside…only patio and back seating. The line for ordering and pick-up also got scrambled since there were too many people waiting inside! I wanted to try a different bowl this time around, so from the two options I had left I went with the Jungle Bowl.

Random crystal rock by the cash register!
Random crystal rock by the cash register!

The wait was ridiculosly long however. I think I was standing for at least 20 minutes until my bowl was ready. I saw that three people who ordered after me got their meals before I did, so I thought that was a bit frustrating. I let that go when I did get my bowl though!

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A green swampy soup of sorts!

I sat at a table outside on the patio to enjoy this fully.

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Jungle Bowl – Coconut milk, kale, spinach, mango, apple, almond butter

The color of the bowl reminded me of a swamp, with fruit bobbing throughout it of course. While it was a pretty bowl, the diced apple caught me off guard since I was expecting pineapple as originally stated on their menu. I didn’t really taste any hint of almond butter either. In all honesty, the bowl was less of a smoothie bowl and more of a slushie bowl—in other words, a disappointment. Looks can only take you so far…

Kreation Kafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

ALDI Haul

ALDI Haul

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by ALDI as part of Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

I am the biggest fan of discount grocery stores that offer quality items at insanely low prices. That was one thing I thought LA lacked when I first moved here, since I always came home from visiting my family in NorCal (when they still lived there) with a suitcase stuffed with discounted yogurts, nut butters, and other staples I wouldn’t spoil myself with in LA since it was not worth the price to me.

But along came ALDI, and a store of its kind arriving in SoCal is exactly what I had been waiting for: a one-stop grocery shop that offers deep discounts on quality food products! Even though ALDI originated in Germany, they now have locations across Europe, Australia, and the US. I actually first learned about ALDI when I took German in high school, and my teacher used to rave about the store.

When I visited my family over winter break in Tulsa, I checked out the location there so that was my first time stepping into an ALDI. A lot of their current California locations seem to be in Orange County and the Inland Empire, but there are at least two within reach of those who live in LA: Inglewood and Arcadia.

Information about the stores, giftcards (!!), and a quarter for cart rental.
Information about the stores, giftcards (!!), and a quarter for cart rental.

I was given two $50 giftcards and a quarter for renting a cart in order to facilitate my haul. I chose to go to the Arcadia location since it gave me an excuse to ride the Gold Line extension. From there, it was about a 50 min. walk, and while I could have taken a connecting bus, I just wanted to go! I did get mocked along the way for hauling a suitcase, but I didn’t allow it to get to me because I would be the real winner in the end 😉

Tucked within a shopping complex right next to a CVS, I found the ALDI of Arcadia.

I'm almost there...ah!
I’m almost there…ah!

I was able to rent out a cart once I inserted my quarter (putting it back was another story…needed help with that!), and there was plenty of room to stuff my roller board underneath the cart.

Rent a cart.
Rent a cart.

Once inside, I was met with all the color, lights, and a clean, fresh display of goods.

Groceries on a Sunday...let's go!
Groceries on a Sunday…let’s go!

First thing I did was stroll casually down the cracker/nuts/protein bar aisle to see if anything caught my eye. I stocked up on some Southern Grove Chia Seeds and Southern Grove Deluxe Oven Roasted Almonds, grabbed a tub of steel cut oatmeal and a box of instant oatmeal, and proceeded forward towards the back where the produce was. There, I got a hold of some salad packs, my usual veggies for weeknight crockpot dinners and some “splurges” (mushrooms and brussels sprouts!).

I could list in detail how many minutes I spent in each aisle, how many times I threw things in my cart trying to estimate if it would fit my gift card budget, but that’s why I listed a detailed list of my haul at the end of this post! And since I had the opportunity to stock up on staples, I gave myself the freedom to really load up my cart. I even went so far as to purchase three bottles of SimplyNature® Creamy Almond Butter 😮

Once at the checkout line, I felt a little nervous and excited. Wonder if this is how the folks on that couponing show feel? Haha, actually my final balance ended up being $123, but my cashier was helpful in voiding some things out for me.

Checking out at ALDI!
Checking out at ALDI!

I still felt like I made out with quite a hefty haul. It’s not like you can leave any grocery store with an overstuffed suitcase, a bulging reusable bag, and your own purse that could fit a laptop with $100 worth of goods, but I would say I was successful in doing so 😉

This is what happens when you spend $1.78 on groceries…with a $100 off discount 😉 . I have to say that this is probably my biggest grocery haul ever completed in one trip since moving to LA, which justifies me hauling my roller board all the way to Arcadia.

ALDI grocery store haul!
ALDI grocery store haul!

Good thing my roommate wasn’t home because I literally had to clean off the dining table in order to fit everything for one picture! Also forced me into cleaning said dining table since it was empty for once!

While the store does offer some name-brand items (a pint of Double Rainbow Vanilla Bean Soy Cream and I did fetch myself a box of Boca Flame Grilled Meatless Burgers), approximately 90% of the products sold at ALDI are ALDI-exclusive brands, and they are tested frequently to ensure quality.

Most of my products from my my haul are from the in-store SimplyNature® brand, which also includes items that are certified to be organic by the USDA and free of GMO ingredients. They also have a wide variety of gluten-free items under the liveGfree® brand (I got someliveGfree® Gluten Free Yogurt Covered Pretzels from this brand to try out!!).

Breakdown of my haul:

Produce
Veg. Steam Packs (2)
Salad Packs (4)
Carrots
Kale
Brussels sprouts
Brown mushrooms
Onions
Head of cabbage

Dairy and Dairy-Free
Fit & Active® Yogurt and Friendly Farms Greek Yogurt (12)
Double Rainbow Vanilla Bean Soy Cream Pint
Friendly Farms Almond Milk carton
Boca Flame Grilled Meatless Burgers

Staples
Milville Steel-Cut oats
SimplyNature® Organic Black Beans
SimplyNature® Organic Garbanzo Beans
Organic Lentil Soup (2)
Stevia (2 boxes)
SimplyNature® Instant Oatmeal Assorted Varieties
Southern Grove Chia Seeds
Deutsche Küche German Style Sauerkraut
Southern Grove Deluxe Oven Roasted Almonds
Peanut Delight Creamy Peanut Butter
Berryhill Hazelnut Spread
SimplyNature® Creamy Cashew Butter (2)
SimplyNature® Creamy Almond Butter
Tuscan Garden Artichokes
liveGfree® Gluten Free Yogurt Covered Pretzels
Fusia Asian Inspirations Sriracha Sauce

Random necessities
Handsoap
Women’s products

Overall, I would say my first solo shopping experience at ALDI was a fun one (minus the time it took via my mode of transportation, and actually having to haul my haul). Even though it was a Sunday afternoon, I feel like everyone was entranced by the products and having a good time pointing stuff out to family members rather than be in a rushed or impatient mood. ALDI has already opened 25 total stores and will have a total of 45 stores up-and-running by the end of 2016, I’m hoping some of those locations will be in the city of LA itself! I can easily see ALDI becoming an instant hit among students and other urban folk 😀

You can find out more about ALDI via the website, or stay updated about openings through their Facebook page!

Have you heard of ALDI or shopped there?

Coconut Oil Cookie Butter Brownies

Coconut Oil Cookie Butter Brownies

My friends and I decided to have a girls/movie night to kick-off the three-day weekend, and when planning for the night, figuring out who would bring what food-wise was just as important as deciding on the movie. We chose to use a random number generator to pick our movie, with each of us ladies ready with out movie choice if our number was selected, but there was no surprise regarding our menu.

I volunteered to prepare dessert, since I had purchased a new-to-me box of brownie mix from Sprouts a few weeks before. I’ve had it perched on my cupboard shelf since then, waiting for the perfect time to get baking.

European Gourmet Bakery Organics - Chocolate Brownie Mix

This box of European Gourmet Bakery Organics Chocolate Brownie Mix has a simple ingredients list of organic brown sugar, organic wheat flour, organic cocoa, salt, and baking soda, and once I opened the bag, the strong smell of cocoa filled my kitchen (along with a chocolate-sugar cloud 😛 )

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I still had my Neat Egg Substitute, so I used that instead of eggs. And since I had a full jar of coconut oil and a tempting jar of cookie butter, it only made sense to incorporate those in for some knock-out brownies.

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Coconut Oil Cookie Butter Brownies
These brownies taste more like coconut fudge (with a "hint" of chocolate), but don't worry...that's a good thing!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. - Box of brownie mix (~360 grams)
  2. - 2 large eggs or egg substitute (I used Neat Egg Substitute Powder)
  3. - 3 tbsp. of coconut oil
  4. - 5-6 tbsp. of cookie butter (I used Trader Joe's Cookies & Creme cookie butter)
  5. - Water (to add after all of the above ingredients are mixed, and until you get a moist, dense batter)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix wet and dry ingredients.
  3. Add water and keep mixing until you get a moist, dense batter.
  4. Pour batter onto a pan sprayed with PAM or onto a sheet of non-stick parchment paper.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 50-55 minutes, checking every 20 minutes with the "toothpick test".
  6. Take out of the oven, and let it cool down for 10-20 minutes (you may see the brownies start to bubble, but it will reabsorb back into the brownies).
  7. Put the pan in the fridge to cool down the brownies faster (30 minutes is good).
  8. Cut the brownies into squares, and enjoy the melty, gooey, delicious-ness of each bite!
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/
After taking the pan out of the oven, I was immediately hit by the strong smell of coconut. I had my roommate taste a piece, and tried them for myself the next morning before plating them for the get-together. Since I love chewy, fudgy desserts, I absolutely loved how the brownies came out, specifically the melty, fudge center. They were somewhat sticky, but they didn’t fall apart, and they still had that “brownie crust” on the top.

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The ladies seemed to enjoy them too. I ended up coming back home with a few, but it was understandable since with all of our contributions, we had enough snackables to feed twice as many people than were present! Our movie choice that night was Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe…it was an interesting story, but some parts were downright creepy/awkward. We had to end the night with an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos  just so that we would leave on a happier note 😀 !

What do you like to cook/bake for potlucks?

My Kind of Chocolate Bar

My Kind of Chocolate Bar

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily paid to write this review. This review is based on the products and information I received from Yes CaCao. All opinions are my own.

I can’t imagine ever saying “no” if someone were to ask me if I like chocolate, but I do have my preferences. Hershey’s—and even Cadbury’s—just don’t seem to cut it anymore, since there are so many “gourmet” options out there nowadays. I could spend hours strolling down the one aisle devoted to raw/fair trade/organic/vegan chocolate bars at Whole Foods—because if I’m going to indulge, might as well go all the way amIright?

I was definitely able to indulge when I got the chance to try three magical Yes CaCao bars. Yes CaCao is based out of the Bay Area (hometown pride!) and their ingredients include a plethora of super foods and items of botanical origin. The cacao in these bars is harvested in Ecuador via a direct trade relationship, and after months of experimentation, they were able to formulate the three flavors I was able to sample recently. You can read more about their story here.

 Loved the packaging!
Loved the packaging!

Marketed as botanical chocolate bars, I was able to try the Dirty Chocolate, Karma Mellowl, and Gaba Baba.

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All of the bars are cold-processed, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, not roasted, and vary from 140-170 calories each.

I tried Gaba Baba first—a sheet of soothing dark chocolate. It aims to function as a chocolate bar that promotes relaxation, with prime ingredients like kava kava, blue lotus, and turmeric. It was the perfect nighttime snack, and I imagine it would have made a successful match with a glass of soymilk and atop a graham cracker and vegan marshmallow!

 "GABA BABA is MEDITATION in a bar, calming your mind and body, falling into your natural rhythm of pure confidence"
“GABA BABA is MEDITATION in a bar, calming your mind and body, falling into your natural rhythm of pure confidence”

Now Karma Mellowl though…this bar blew me away. Forget the “golden ticket”, this is a golden chocolate bar, with flavors and a texture combination that’s so magical, it’s indescribable. It’s the ‘brain food bar’ of the group, and boasts ingredients like coconut palm sugar, bacopa, and lion’s mane mushroom. Even if it was devoid of these mystical ingredients, I think I would still like this bar if it kept it’s golden color!

 KARMA MELLOWL is BRAIN FOOD in a bar, for short-term memory and vision, regenerating synaptic nerve patterns, and reprogramming your paradigm.
KARMA MELLOWL is BRAIN FOOD in a bar, for short-term memory and vision, regenerating synaptic nerve patterns, and reprogramming your paradigm.

And last but not least, was Dirty Chocolate. This bar is all about balance and adaptation, and is designed to be that one thing that gives you a jolt in the morning (besides an espresso). It contains shilajit and tulsi, which aid in toxin release and nerve relaxation respectively. The super mushroom reishi is also in this bar, which only adds to this bar’s energy-boosting attributes.

 DIRTY CHOCOLATE is GROUNDING in a bar, into your body, into the earth beneath your feet, and anchoring your intentions.
DIRTY CHOCOLATE is GROUNDING in a bar, into your body, into the earth beneath your feet, and anchoring your intentions.

I would definitely say that ‘fancy chocolate’ definitely has its perks. If you’re going to say “yes” to chocolate, make it worth something 🙂 !

What’s your favorite ‘fancy chocolate bar’?

RAW-ful, Restful Weekend

RAW-ful, Restful Weekend

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is merely a week away, and that we have already passed the mid-November mark! It seems that with the holidays coming closer and closer, everyone around me is starting to be a little bit more relaxed when it comes to work…or maybe it’s just me 😛

Last weekend was very much a relaxed one for me, and I was able to do things at my my own, slow pace. Friday night was a cloudy one, and after a short day in lab, I came home to a cozy crockpot dinner, a pint of coffee Artic Zero, and a taped episode of Shark Tank. On Saturday morning, I woke up leisurely and after having a cup of coffee, decided to not go for a run, but instead review my lectures from the past week before heading out to lunch.

 A low-key dinner on Friday night, and some light studying on Saturday morning.
A low-key dinner on Friday night, and some light studying on Saturday morning.

I was particularly excited about my lunch destination that Saturday, since it was a relatively new raw, vegan place nestled on Melrose Ave.

 Entrance to Grassroots Alchemy
Entrance to Grassroots Alchemy

Grassroots Alchemy—the name itself sounds so unique and mystical! And the ambiance was a pure reflection of that…

sohip

sohip2

There was outdoor seating as well, but I obviously chose to stay inside. Plus, I had the whole place to myself since everybody else was distracted by Urth Caffe across the street 😛

grassroots_alchemy

I ordered the Habibi Plate at the counter, and then asked to use the restroom. I was directed towards the back of the restaurant and told to use this magical-looking key to open the door…

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Even the bathroom is treated with respect!

After freshening up, I found a seat at the counter near the front window (it was that or eat awkwardly on the couch since there were no tables in sight). It was interesting to watch people walk down the street in fitness garb or yoga wear. Since it was just past noon on a Saturday, you could safely assume people were done with their morning workouts—I was just surprised no one came in to refuel with a raw food dish, or even a cold-pressed juice!

Ah well, at least I enjoyed having the space to myself, and finally feasting on this beauty when it arrived:

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The Habibi Platter, which included curried hummus, raw falafel, tabouli, raw crackers, and tahini dressing.

(Almost) too good to eat…almost.

Habibi Plate Close-Up

I loved all of the main components of the plate, but I especially loved mixing the curried hummus with the raw falafel and crackers. The falafel was quite doughy since it was not baked or fried, but the crackers balanced things out texture-wise with their crunchiness and full-bodied flavor.

After my exceptional lunch experience, I spent some time walking down Melrose before heading home. I wanted to head back early and rest up before running 10 miles the next day!

So yes, my Sunday at least had a productive start with a 10 mile long run with my running group, and once I got back around 11am, I couldn’t resist taking a nap! I woke up a little after noon and slowly got ready to head out for lunch and also grab a few necessities from the grocery store.

I wanted to refuel properly, and was craving a huge salad with filling ingredients. I also felt like hoping on the rail, so towards North Hollywood I went, stopping at the station near Universal Studios to visit SunCafe Organic.

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From the outside, it didn’t look like much, but I shouldn’t let appearances fool me too quickly! I made my way to the entrance after winding around the outdoor patio seating area. The inside was dimly-lit, but quite spacious and cozy.

sunorganiccafe

The bathroom was well-kept and cutely decorated as well.

 I was quite fascinated by the faucet.
I was quite fascinated by the faucet.

But…back to the main point of my visit: satisfying my salad craving. I was able to do just that by ordering the Kale Colossus.

 Kale Colossus, which included massaged kale, soy chorizo, mushrooms, bell peppers, pico de gallo, three dressings, raisins, and three slices of banana delicately placed on top :)
Kale Colossus, which included massaged kale, soy chorizo, mushrooms, bell peppers, pico de gallo, three dressings, raisins, and three slices of banana delicately placed on top 🙂

It came to my table crazy fast, that even my waiter was surprised when he came by to check on me. Seeing as it was smaller than I expected, I did my best not to demolish it in three bites or less even though I wanted to.

Kale Colossus Close Up

I took my time eating this salad, and felt completely nourished by the time I finished. After paying the bill, I headed over to Ralph’s before heading home as the sun set.

Even with my nap, I still felt quite exhausted from the weekend’s events, so I went to bed at the early hour of 10pm…even though, I must say that this particular weekend was a much more tame one in comparison to the others I’ve had to-date!

Grassroots Alchemy on Urbanspoon

SunCafe Organic on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Fix

Chocolate Fix

Late last week, I started taking antibiotics for my bacterial sinus infection, and since I have to complete the cycle to the very last pill in order to avoid resistance, I thought it would be fun to try new-to-me foods in the process, since I was instructed to not take a pill on an empty stomach. Gotta listen to the doctor’s orders—right ;)?

On Friday morning, I woke up with some aches, but no fever! I was able to sleep soundly that night since my doctor prescribed me some codeine cough syrup to help with the incessant coughing that had been accompanying my fever every night. To see how much my body was capable of doing, I went to the gym to get some light exercise in (ZUMBA).

After an hour of that, I stopped by Vitamin Shoppe to pick up some Cookies and Cream Quest Bars. Unfortunately they weren’t in stock, but then I figured that this would be the perfect time to try something new, so I finally decided to try the Quest Cravings Protein Peanut Butter Cups that have been out for a while.

Quest Cravings Protein Peanut Butter Cups (1)

There are two cups per pack of standard size, and what’s cute is how the Quest name is imprinted on the bottom!

Quest Cravings Protein Peanut Butter Cups Collage

The cup is also even in length and circumference. I’ve noticed in the “usual” candy PB cups that the diameter is larger at top, with it narrowing at the bottom, but that’s not the case here. The filling is not that creamy, but more similar to a peanut powder. I didn’t mind the texture, but it could be off-putting to some.

PB Fillin'

There was a lot of filling however!

Would I buy these over a regular Quest Bar? Maybe if their price wasn’t $2.99 per pack, and perhaps if they were cheaper than an actual Quest Bar, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for these. They are worth trying at least once though!

Over the weekend, I found some awesome finds at Grocery Outlet and the 99¢ Store—which included 2/$1.00 Chocolate Jocalat Bars (from Larabar) and 2/$1.00 Chobani Raspberry Choco Fix Flips!

I was ecstatic to try the Jocolat bar first since I have been meaning to try them forever, but it always passed my mind when confronted with so many other bars to choose from at the grocery store ;).

Jocalat Larabar Chocolate

It pretty much had the same texture as a regular Larabar, although some chocolate flavor could be detected. It wasn’t anything to write home about though, at least in my opinion :/.

As for the Chobani Raspberry Choco Fix Flip, I was expecting to find yogurt (of course) with chocolate chunks and dried raspberries as the “mix-ins”.

Raspberry Choco Fix Chobani Flip Yogurt

Unfortunately, the yogurt (which was vanilla) was already mixed in with chocolate chip pieces while the “raspberries” in the flip portion of the container were pureed into liquid preserves. I was disappointed that the reality didn’t match up with my initial mental image, but the “real” version wasn’t too bad. Would I scope this guy out over key lime crumble? Probably not…

What has been your go-to chocolate snack lately?

Baby Biscuits with Boca Gravy

Baby Biscuits with Boca Gravy

Last week was a super long one. I had my share of relaxation and family/friends time, but I also had a lot of work that needed to get done (applications with a Dec. 1st deadline…), as well as actual work (Black Friday weekend = more hours!).

In the days before Thanksgiving, I snacked on some new-to-me treats to keep my stress levels low. I even found some time to treat myself to some much-deserved froyo the weekend before Thanksgiving:

Froyo mix: pumpkin and vanilla froyo (the vanilla tasted better surprisingly..), mochi pieces, cherries, poppers, carob and yogurt chips ---> deliciousness!
Froyo mix: pumpkin and vanilla froyo (the vanilla tasted better surprisingly..), mochi pieces, cherries, poppers, carob and yogurt chips —> deliciousness!

I found the following bar at Raley’s at a discounted price:

bar
The bar I believed could appease my Greens Plus Peanut Butter/Chocolate Protein Bar craving…

It tasted alright. It has a “mushier” center filling than I would have liked, but the hard chocolate shell made up for it. They also have a “natural” no chocolate original flavor that I am curious about trying in the near future.

yogurt
Two new-to-meh Chobani Flips!

I also was able to try two new-to-me flavors of Chobani Flip since they were on sale for $0.79 each at the 99 Cent Store :)! Peachy Pistachio was my favorite, since pistachios are after all my favorite kind of nut, and mixed together with peach yogurt…it’s just a winning combo. Blueberry Power was not bad either. Actually, it tasted more like blueberry yogurt than the single serve blueberry Chob in my opinion :P! And mixed with walnuts and chia seeds? Maybe they should rename it Brain Power…

On Thanksgiving, we had a nice spread out (tofurky, cranberry sauce, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, pie, etc.), but my ultimate craving was fulfilled through homemade baby biscuits with Boca gravy.

Little nuggets of delicious-ness
Little nuggets of delicious-ness

Perhaps it was my 10k turkey chase race that caused me to have crazy carb cravings, and while I did have some other things from our spread, my dig at the meal was mostly through these biscuits topped with Boca gravy.

How can this not be delicious?
How can this not be delicious?

Baby Biscuits with Boca Gravy 

Biscuits

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 8 oz butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  1. Crumble tiny bits of butter and blend into mix of all dry products.
  2. Add milk and make a dough.
  3. Roll out the dough with a dusting of flour.
  4. Fold and roll, fold again and roll a few times.
  5. Roll out the dough to about 0.5″ thick sheet.
  6. Using a circle cookie cutter, make about 14 or so biscuits and lay on cookie sheet.
  7. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  8. Bake in 450 degree oven for 12+ minutes, making sure the bottoms don’t burn.

Boca Gravy ( 2 servings)

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Boca crumbles (or any veggie soy meat crumbles)
  • Flour
  • Salt
  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet.
  2. Toast 2 or 3 cloves chopped garlic until brown.
  3. Use ¼ cup Boca crumbles and brown.
  4. Add ¼ cup of flour and brown (don’t burn).
  5. Add salt to toast.
  6. Add milk and dissolve the solids.
  7. As gravy thickens, add more milk to maintain gravy consistency.
Gravy glory :3
Gravy glory :3

When I used up the Boca gravy, I piled on some more biscuits with some garlic gravy we had “reserved” for the mashed potatoes, and even some cranberry sauce. Craving was appeased, and Thanksgiving, in my book, was a success ;).

If you partook in a Thanksgiving meal, did you have a little (or a lot) of everything, or did you have a lot of one thing?

Five Things Friday – Post-Valentine’s Day Edition

Five Things Friday – Post-Valentine’s Day Edition

This week managed to go by quickly for me…perhaps it was due to the (pleasant) change in the weather? Yes, I know Nemo begs to differ for some, and that’s why I’m grateful for the California sun…and for Punxsutawney Phil not seeing his shadow..

I plan to make this weekend relaxing and fun, but I also want to (and need to) buckle down for some serious Microbiology studying. My second midterm is on Thursday, and since it is a points-based class (no curve!) I really want to ace it. I did have a Math midterm today though, and since it is Friday, I thinking I’m deserving of a little break. Plus I’m in the mood for a “Five Things Friday”. Enjoy!

1) Latest food fix has been a cup of greek yogurt (preferrably $0.79 clearance Chob) and a dollop of Nutella. I’ve been craving this  combo every.single.day. for the past week! Good thing the cups were on clearance, otherwise there would be a huge hole in my pocket!

<3
Nutella + greek yogurt = ♥

2) Weather has been amazing…and will continue to be (except for the chances of rain later next week…)! I certainly do not have an excuse to get some running in this weekend :)! The only thing that irritates me though is that the mornings are still winter cold, so I have to wear a jacket anyways. And then I have to lug around the jacket when it warms up in the afternoon. Yes, I’m so full of complaints, but I’d rather have my days stay at a consistent temperature…preferrably sunny & warm temperatures…

High's in the 70s, baby!
High’s in the 70s, baby!

3) Listening to the Latino Top Hits station when you didn’t take Spanish in high school and/or college. I can only stand the other “Top 40/Mainstream Radio” stations for so long you know! Plus, I recognize like half the songs from my ZUMBA classes.

I didn’t hear it on the Latino station (rather an internet dance radio station), but my current favorite song to jam along to is this one. Oh, and the remix too! You might recognize the singer from Mr. Saxobeat, which has been in my head all week too 😉

4) Had to get a filling yesterday (a minor one) but after getting reprimanded by my dentist for needing to practice good flossing technique on a more frequent basis, I couldn’t help but google “electronic flossers”.

Worth it??
Is it worth it??
(source)

Right now I’m trying to get into the habit of using those Dentek flosser thingys since I hate the threaded floss. But an electric flosser would be so nice. Is it worth the $100 though??

5) Who says you can’t have chocolate after Valentine’s Day? Funny how I switch to the topic of chocolate after I mentioned my filling. (Honestly, it was a filling in a really hard to reach area…I promise I have really good dental hygeine otherwise 😉 !)

Anyways, I tried two new-to-me chocolate bars a couple weeks ago but couldn’t find the right post to fit them in to. Since I’m not in a chocolate coma from yesterday, looking at these bars doesn’t make me sick to my stomach…although one of them did have a similar effect…:P

Simply Lite - Dark Chocolate
Simply Lite – Dark Chocolate

This Simply Lite bar was a low carb chocolate bar, and while it did satisfy my dark chocolate craving that I was having one day, I don’t recommend eating the entire bar in one sitting (it even says so on the wrapper – excess consumption may cause a laxative effect). My tummy made some weird gurgling sounds soon after and was acting up for the majority of the day. I found the aftertaste to be kind of off too.

Whole Foods didn’t let me down though…especially since their chocolate selection is engrossing.

Alter Eco - Dark Quinoa
Alter Eco – Dark Quinoa

When I saw this quinoa chocolate bar by Alter Eco, I knew I had to buy it (also a plus was that it was on sale!!). I’ve seen this brand/bar on other blogs, but wanted to try it myself. It honestly reminded me of a more sophisticated Crunch bar, and it even had that same “Crunch” taste too. Only difference was that this bar was thinner and flatter, while the Crunch bars of my childhood were thicker and shorter (at least the ones that came in the Lunchables boxes were! :P).

Well, I’m off to go watch a new episode of Shark Tank. Anyone else like that show, btw?

Have a fun three-day weekend!

What are your weekend plans?

Do you hate flossing?

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