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”

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.

Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins

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

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.

7 Days Croissant Peanut Butter and Jelly

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

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.

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…

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.

soupand veg
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:


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, eh no thanks!

These quinoa bars were a favorite of mine!

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!

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.

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.

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:

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?

B-UP Bars Review

B-UP Bars Review

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily paid nor given complimentary product by the company to write this review. This review is based on the products I personally ordered from B-UP. All opinions are my own.

Because of the rising popularity of Quest bars, it’s no surprise that other folks want a piece of the low-carb/high-protein “pie” πŸ˜‰ .

I first learned about the B-UP bars when I was visiting family over winter break. On one of the days I was hanging out with my close friends at the local mall, I stopped by the GNC there with the intention of purchasing Quest bars, but B-UP caught my eye (at least for a moment). It was interesting to see a new brand in the low-carb/high-protein space, and so I kept the name in mind to check out later.

I originally thought there were only three flavor offerings (Sugar Cookie, Chocolate Mint, and Cinnamon Roll), but when I recently visited the B-UP website to place my order, I learned about the three additional flavors that were added to the line-up! I was more than eager to dive in, order the sample pack of six total bars, and see for myself how good these bars really are (and if they are worth Quest bar competitor status πŸ˜‰ ).


My order arrived in less than a week, and since I ordered the sample pack, I received each of the six flavors PLUS a mini Sugar Cookie bar and a stretchy bracelet. The package also came with a sweet note!

cinnamon_roll (1)

I first tried the Cinnamon Roll flavor on a morning of running and lifting weights. Since it was a 6 miler-kind-of-day, I was tired and hungry by 9AM despite eating something before all of my physical endeavors.

cinnamon_roll (2)

This bar hit the spot, but not without rocking the tastebuds! It was more on the spicy versus sweet side, and it definitely had that chewy, β€œrough protein” kind of taste.

Sugar Cookie had to be my favorite out of all six—so I was glad that the complimentary mini-size bar I got was that flavor!

sugar_cookie (1)

Unlike the Cinnamon Roll flavor, it had a lighter, airy texture, and contained the right amount of sweetness. It would make the perfect base for topping with nut butter, chocolate sauce, whatever! πŸ˜›

Peanut Butter was another favorite of mine, as the peanut butter chunks reminded me of the chocolate chunks well-known in Quest’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar.


When I observed the bar from its side, I noticed it’s stratified layers (almost like horizontal stretch marks, haha), and while the bar was chewy, it left a dry taste in my mouth. But then again, it is peanut butter-flavored, and peanut butter does have the tendency to make you demand for water…

peanut_butter (2)

Chocolate Mint was less chewy, harder in texture, and the mint flavor was STRONG.


Not sure if I was a fan of the chocolate ANDMINT!!! combo (it seemed as if the mint was screaming to be noticed πŸ˜› ).


I had the last two bars—Vanilla Peanut Butter and PB&J—together on Saturday morning.


I was a fan of Vanilla Peanut Butter for sure. It seemed to be the gentler cousin of Peanut Butter, and while it still had it’s peanut-ty roots, the gentle scent (and taste) of vanilla was able to shine through.


I love how PB&J actually had a pink layer on top of the bar—such an adorable touch, and it was flavored with beet juice concentrate so no “weird” ingredients were involved. πŸ˜‰


Overall, these bars had a softer, chewier feel to them when compared to Quest bars, which tend to lean towards being dense, chunky pieces akin to fudge. They also looked to be smaller, so it was disappointing to have the bar disappear from my hands within a few bites…but such is the life of a bar fanatic! πŸ˜‰

Have you tried B-UP bars?

Are you a fan of low-carb/high-protein snacks?

Jet-Speed January

Jet-Speed January

How can we already be approaching the end of January?! Am I the only one in shock??

I realized I haven’t had a life update post in a while, and found some time to do a ‘lately-style’ post. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the midst of this January whirlwind!


1) I’ve been indulging in my Quest Bar cravings, and decided I might as well be earning some Vitamin Shoppe points in the process.

From top to bottom: Coconut Cashew - nut butter taste with a 'tropical' flavor, Peanut Butter and Jelly - 10x better than the real deal, Apple Pie - literally tastes like apple pie in bar form!!
From top to bottom: Coconut Cashew – nut butter taste with a ‘tropical’ flavor, Peanut Butter and Jelly – 10x better than the real deal, Apple Pie – literally tastes like apple pie in bar form!!

2) I’ve been booking flights while feeling nervous and excited at the same time. Interview season for grad schoolΒ has officially arrived!

3) I’ve been having more fun with the good ol’ dehydrator. I’m getting closer to my goal of finding the “perfect” dehydrated yogurt concoction. This try, I used one cup of pineapple Chobani, and scooped out dollops and pressed them into smaller circles. I also only dehydrated them for 9.5 hours. They came out chewier than my first attempt, but still crispier on the edges than I’d like them to be. They were condensed with pineapple flavor though!

As for the sweet potato chips, the “fleshy”part had a rougher texture, but the flavor was out of this world. They reminded me of a rougher/earthier version of those Terra chips (which I like too, by the way).

Dehydrated Pineapple Yogurt Rounds and Sweet Potato Chips

Speaking of yogurt, I’ve also been loving this flavor of Chobani Flip (Almond CocoLoco —> fun name too!)

Almond CocoLoco

4) I have been trying to hop on board the coffee-n-creamer bandwagon, but so far, I still prefer trusty ol’ milk in my coffee. I’ve only tried the International Delight samples for cappucino, half-n-half, and a zero calorie creamer…but still…

Friday morning was coffee with an ID half-n-half sample and stevia...tasted very 'meh' to me.
Friday morning was coffee with an ID half-n-half sample and stevia…tasted very ‘meh’ to me.


This week I plan on doing a lot of planning and prepping for my first interview (!!) in twelve days…I’m excited and nervous at the same time, but the feelings come in waves that alternate with each other. I’m just going to work on finishing up January prepared, confident, and ready for what’s scheduled in February :)!

How’s 2014 been so far? What’s been going on in your life lately?

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