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 🇸🇪 🤔…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 🍬😂??”

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 🍠🌶😋”

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?

High Brew Coffee

High Brew Coffee

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

It’s hard to believe that I am midway through my first semester as a grad student, and while the time seems to have flown by, the days themselves don’t always feel that way—especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have two-hour classes in the morning and late afternoon.

I have been having at least two cups of coffee a day during the work week, and am usually able to manage without it on the weekends. Even though the caffeine doesn’t have a “real” effect on me, I think that the act of sipping on a warm beverage during a 3pm lecture is what keeps me semi-awake.

But even though I have long-associated a warm cup of coffee to be my afternoon-pick-me-up, I wasn’t afraid to give cold-brew coffee a try. I was sent over some samples from High Brew Coffee a few weeks ago, and was eager to give all four flavors a go!

SAMSUNG

At first, I thought cold-brew just meant cold coffee (like iced coffee?), but I was naively in the wrong. After a little bit of research, I discovered for myself that the cold-brew process involves coffee beans to be soaked in water for a lengthy amount of time. The water can be chilled or at room temperature, and after being filtered, the coffee is ready to be used as one wishes. You can get more details about High Brew’s version here.

The result is a less bitter, and naturally sweeter beverage.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

I had Dark Chocolate Mocha before heading out to the musical last Friday, and after trying all flavors, I would say this one was my most favorite. It didn’t taste like coffee, but more like a rich, dark liquid chocolate drink.

SAMSUNG

Double Espresso on the other hand didn’t score so high for me. Despite having sugar AND stevia in the mix, it just tasted too bitter to me and I could not detect much flavor.

SAMSUNG

I had Salted Caramel before going out for a morning run, and I was able to taste the salty ‘n’ spicy caramel. Definitely what I needed to hold me over until I could get a Quest bar in me post-run 😉

SAMSUNG

Mexican Vanilla sounded pretty exotic, but it actually was quite tame—with just a hint of sweetness and smooth taste. This flavor seemed to be the most like iced coffee from the bunch, since it tasted perfect ice cold!

SAMSUNG

With my second set of exams coming up next week, I’ll probably have to restock on these! And I guess it wouldn’t hurt to perhaps experiment with the process myself…if I have the time 😉 !

Have you tried High Brew Coffee, or cold-brew coffee in general?

Thriftin’

Thriftin’

Our household is going through an interesting shift right now. We dropped of my sister today at her dorm, and needless to say, there are some feelings of sadness right now. Of course, going off to college and starting a new chapter in her life is a good thing, but it never really hit me that her leaving home would feel so real…until now.

As I ended my undergraduate career, she is just starting hers. While I begin to apply to graduate school in the upcoming months, she will be making new friends, cramming for her first set of midterms, and (hopefully) not forgetting to Skype us.

Even though we both depend on our family’s income right now for the majority of our expenses, she has the right to call herself a poor college student. I can’t exactly use that term for myself right now…at least not until I officially know where I’ll be a poor grad student ;).

Anyways, I have been bugging her to write a guest post on my blog for some time now, and seeing how thrifting is catching on nowadays, I thought it would be the perfect topic for her to write about. You see, my sister has become an expert thrifter over the course of this summer, and I thought it would be great if she could share some of her thrifty tips with all of you students (or just savvy savers) out there.

Enjoy =)!

I’ve only been a dedicated thrifter for a few months now. I started at the beginning of the summer when my best friend moved back into town, and considering we are both college students, her going into her second year, and me going into my first, thrifting was our only choice if we wanted to go on a summer shopping spree.

But thrifting is fun in more ways than just being able to buy a lot more for the money you have. You can find treasures along the way, items that have been passed from hand to hand for generations. Or you can hunt for vintage items of great value and resell them yourself. Or you can end up finding tons of things you never thought you wanted and later have a strange fish-shaped bowl staring at you from your kitchen counter.

But if you still want to get started thrifting and save yourself a couple months of learning the tricks on your own, here’s what I know:

1. Set aside time. A lot of it.

Thrifting is all about taking your time. As well as there being cool and interesting items, there’s also a LOT of crap. Depending on how large your local thrift store is, make sure to set aside enough time in your day to go through every piece in the store. Many of the best pieces can be hidden between things your eyes skim over.

2. You won’t always find something.

Like I said earlier, there’s a lot of crap in thrift stores. They depend on donations and sometimes the donations that day just aren’t up to par. The merchandise in the store may be appealing to other people but not you – and that’s okay. Be satisfied with coming back and trying again another time.

3. Try on things before you buy them!

Even if you’re sure it’s going to fit, a lot of holes and tears are only visible when you put on the piece of clothing. It takes a few minutes to try something on, and it can save you from buying a piece you later won’t be happy with.

4. If you really want great deals, know when the sale days are.

Many thrift stores allow you to subscribe to texts or emails that alert you when a sale is coming up. If not, there are usually set sale days, like a fifty-percent off day every last Sunday of the month, or half-off certain colored tags that week. Don’t be afraid to ask the employees or volunteers about these deals and when they happen.

Even without all the rules and tips, thrifting is still an exciting experience. Go out and see how many interesting items you can buy with only a dollar!

I’m not a big thrifter when it comes to books, clothes, or household items, but I do appreciate finding a treasure among the junk from time-to-time. Since I have professed my love for Grocery Outlet on this blog many times, I guess you could say I am a foodie thrifter ;).

Lately, I found a food treasure in the form of Asian yogurt:

Tarté Asian Yogurt has a lighter subtly sweet taste compared to most flavored yogurts, yet it is still very smooth and creamy for a high protein yogurt. (source)

Strawberry & Guanabana + Original
Strawberry & Guanabana + Original

They had these two flavors available, at a convenient 2/$1.00 price.

IMG_4093

The yogurts are said to be all-natural since they are sweetened with Stevia, and have a 1:1 sugar-to-protein ratio.

Strawberry and Guanabana
Strawberry and Guanabana

I found both yogurts to have a consistency close to Chobani, since neither was as thick as Fage. Strawberry and Guanabana tasted great with a Nutella dollop, and I had the Original with some peanut flour.

Original
Original

Usually I absolutely need to mix in something into original flavored yogurts since they often are too sour for me, but I honestly could have eaten the original flavor on its own. The peanut flour did add some more thickness though, which isn’t a bad thing when it comes to yogurt!

They have four more flavors that I am eager to try—Mango & Coconut and Green Tea & Honey are included! Need I say more ;)?

Are you a thrifter?

What’s your favorite thing to thrift? 

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