Big Man Bakes is a cupcake store I used to pass on some Sunday long runs when I lived near DTLA. I would sometimes run past it before turning right, back to Figueroa. This time however, I was walking straight towards it.
Once I got to the small storefront, I gazed into the display case of perfectly frosted cupcakes, and didn’t even know what to pay attention to first.
The young lady behind the counter was eager to share a bit about Big Man Bakes, and some of their classic and seasonal flavors that were currently available. I was thinking I’d go for the Red Velvet or Oreo…
…but in the end, I went with a seasonal flavor—strawberry!
It was called an “XL” cupcake, but it really wasn’t that big. To me, it seemed like a standard-sized cupcake.
The cake itself was moist, but it didn’t stand out in regards to flavor. I was also hoping for a generous serving of cream filling on the inside, but sadly, that wasn’t the case.
Having a hefty box of goods from DegustaBox to start the new year was something I was very excited about!
It was a half miss/half win for me this month in regards to these products. I couldn’t have a couple due to the ingredients, but the ones I could consume were good (despite some of my critiques, haha) on many accounts!
I normally don’t think about buying microwaveable popcorn from the grocery store, but having the option to have it as a snack for three weeknights was a nice change in routine! This kind was lightly buttered, but had quite the kick of salt. It made procrastinating with Netflix a whole lot easier and fun, haha.
I also got a small pack of Entenmann’s Little Bites in Party Cake flavor.
The cakes were super moist and glistened at the top, and took their calorie density seriously. Only four are provided in a pack that’s 190 calories. They are called “little bites” for a reason, but I think only putting in four miniature cakes in a packet is disappointing. And no frosting either…ah well, at least each “bite” was delectable 😛
The Berry Good Smart Kids bar I had wasn’t one of my faves. The bar was a cereal-type bar, dusty with berry pieces mixed into the bar. I think the powdery coating is what made me not appreciate this bar. The texture was just too rough for something you’d think would be chewy, especially if berries are involved.
Unfortunately, I had to skip out on trying three products this month. These Organic fruit chews were one of them, as they contained gelatin.
These Welch’s fruit chews might have tasted nice, and while they didn’t have gelatin, they did have confectioners glaze/lac-resin, which is derived from secretions from the lac insect. So I had to pass on these as well…
Then there were the Cello Parmesan Whisps. Their website was actually very informative about their cheese making process and what types of rennet they use as far as if it’s vegetarian friendly or not. They even had a descriptive FAQ page, but unfortunately for me, their parmesan cheese wasn’t listed under the list of their cheese products made with microbial rennet. So, I had to pass.
I’m pretty fortunate to have always-hungry co-workers though! I brought the packages to lab one day and everything was eaten by the time be day was over. I guess I should also add that one of my lab mates is a six-foot tall guy…”always hungry” is an understatement I suppose!
The ginger sugar was an interesting addition. I think it’s made by the same company as tiger balm because the ginger tea box came with this handy dandy promo flier.
The crystal packets were packed individually, and contained a generous amount of honey crystals to mix into hot water for a satisfying cup of tea.
The crystals themselves look like rice puffs close-up, but they had a sharp, sweet flavor.
When I first saw this box, I immediately thought my breakfasts for the month were set…well, if not breakfast, then at least after-dinner desserts!
This box is the complete package—you just need to add water to get the mix going. For convenience sake, I scooped a quarter cup out and mixed it into a mug with water until I got a thick batter. I then microwaved it for about 2 minutes. The result was a soft, doughy cake that I then proceeded to top with coconut milk-yogurt mixed with pumpkin spice-flavored greens. Ah, twas delicious!
I absolutely loved the Alo Light drink, and didn’t expect it to be so refreshing! It had aloe pulp, and it had a jelly-like consistency, so it reminded me of those jelly cups or jelly cubes that they add to drinks at boba places. I had the whole bottle within minutes, and shared my love for it on Instagram, even though I was on my way to lab all stressed out.
The same day I felt stressed, I came back needing a nourishing dinner. I had the option of using either one of these two spice or sauce mixes.
I chose to have the One & Done seasoning mixed in with my crockpot cabbage bowl with squash and red bell pepper. I also added in a grill pressed eggpant wrap from Trader Joe’s. It came with a cup of tahini sauce that I added into the bowl, and with the seasoning + sauce, it was an instant flavor party.
I’m sure when I try the McDonnells Indian Korma Curry Sauce (an Irish product suitable fr vegetarians, based on the package!), I’ll love it as well.
Which of these products would you try to kick off the new year?
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Degustabox. All opinions are my own.
In regards to moving, I was for the most part OK with leaving my old place behind. Yes, it was closer to work and provided a lot of conveniences, but after two years it was time to move on. Funny thing was, I had to come back to pick up a package that couldn’t get forwarded in time…I didn’t mind though, because I came prepared with reusable bags to stuff all of my foodie goodies in!
This month’s box featured some portable snacks, great add-ins to my weekly yogurt bowls, and snacks that made me recall my childhood.
One of those childhood-recalling snacks were the Mini Cow Tales. As soon as I spotted them in the box, I literally ripped open the bag and had them as a snack on the train ride home. I forgot how chewy and creamy they were, but after biting into my first one out of the bag, the memories came flooding back! My sis and I loved having these as part of our after school snacks, and even opted for the different flavored ones when they were available.
Another snack that was provided in the box, but not reminiscent of my childhood, were the Loacker chocolates. They became instant favorites of mine though, since they had a crisp cookie and caramel-like filling with a smooth chocolate layer over them. All in the shape of a flower 🙂
The Goya Maria Cookies were exactly like the Maire Gold Biscuits my grandmother used to have. It’s interesting how the same type of cookie/biscuit is marketed under a different name on different continents. In India, they’re known as biscuits, and often seen in commercials alongside a piping hot mug of chai tea or next to a cup of milk with a chocolate drink mix if targeted towards kids. I was not a huge fan of these growing up, but the nostalgia that these biscuits brought me now made them more appetizing.
The box of Honey Bunches of Oats (with strawberries) was a fun find to receive, practically speaking. It obviously makes a good topping for greek yogurt.
And this Oregon Chai instant mix…
While it’s intended for instant chai when added to hot water, useful for when you are on-the-go, I found it much more useful as a protein-powder sub-in. It added the mix of spicy, but sweet flavor to my greek yogurt, and this combination was a great vehicle for the Honey Bunches of Oats and a side protein bar. I put together this easy breakfast prior to heading for the train station on one of the weekends I had to stop by lab.
After a long run last weekend, I was incredibly thirsty, and I was so proud of myself for storing this bottle of Alo drink, made with mango and mangosteen, in the fridge the night I brought all of my Degustabox goods home! I drank this bottle in less than a minute, while rolling out my muscles (as well as my poor posterior shin splint, ughhh) and watching the women’s Olympic marathon. The drink had just enough sweetness and its icy punch really quenched my thirst!
Some of the savories in this box included a jar of fine-tasting mayo and a new flavor/texture of Pop Chips!
Pop Chips has ventured into the territory of Ruffles chips with it’s new Ridges line, and the flavor I tried was Cheddar & Sour Cream. Most of the pieces were broken so I was unable to compare a full-size chip to a Ruffles chip, but the chips were packed with flavor and light on the tongue.
The Sir Kensington Mayonnaise in Chipotle was creamy, spicy, and provided a punchy flavor similar to that of the Pop Chips. Instead of cheese, it was chipotle, but a slather of this spread in between two hamburger buns made for an easy snack while in lab.
The final product in the box that I tried was the White Lily white grape seed all-purpose wheat flower. Since I was visiting my family for a week and would have more flexibility with kitchen space there (my live-in landlords at my new space do not prefer heavy cooking by their tenants), I packed it with me on my trip to Oklahoma.
This flour became a staple ingredient for a delicious pot pie crust, and was part of my all-time favorite dinner…a dinner I literally had on the daily when I lived with my family before moving to LA.
Grape Seed Flour Pot Pie Crust/Bread Disc
A hearty, wheat-y bread biscuit, or can be used to top pot pies!
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 Quest Labs/Quest Nutrition. All opinions are my own.
A couple weeks ago, Quest Nutrition opened up a new site called Quest Labs as a way to test out new products before releasing them to the general public.
Even though I don’t consider myself to be obsessed with Quest bars as much as I used to be, I did want to try these flavors out because of a) FOMO and b) how could I pass up the chance to try new bar flavors?!
Since the website was sold out of the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip singles, I ended up getting a full box. I hoped that I wouldn’t find them disgusting since they would be my “box for the week”, but it ended up being one of my faves! Perhaps it was due to the fact that it was VERY much like its cousin CCCD, except with a little bit more spice and some oat flakes thrown in.
Blueberry Muffin hands down was my all-time favorite. It was like a fruity version of the Smore’s bar, and the golden color of the graham cracker pieces is eye-catching!
Rocky Road was the third bar flavor offered through Quest Labs, and it didn’t score to well by me. It reminded me of the chocolate and peanut butter bar actually because both have nut pieces. But besides the varied texture, the flavor was a bland protein chocolate one :/
Besides releasing new flavors of the chewy bars Quest is known for, a new type of bar was introduced for testing out…
a cereal bar!
I think the first time I ever had a cereal bar was when General Mills made bars from their actual cereals, and they had a “milk”/cream filling or whatever. As a kid, I thought that concept was beyond cool (at first), but then after finding they were too dry and hard to bite into, the novelty died away.
I was able to get a single bar of 4/5 flavors (the waffle flavor was sold out, except for the box).
Strawberry and chocolate were both similar in that both had an iced swirl on the top, and were consistent in tasting like their respective flavors.
Cinnamon Bun had some sparkle to it, from the cinnamon obviously, but the bar itself wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it had a slight chewiness to it which I liked.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate was my absolute favorite though. Not sure why…maybe it was the chocolate drizzle? I just surprisingly found myself really enjoying this flavor!
If I were to order any of these bars again, Blueberry Muffin and OCC would be my first picks. I could live without Rocky Road, and while the cereal bars were a nice change and a good showing of Quest’s creativity, I wouldn’t necessarily try too hard to make these a staple snack to have around the apartment. Hmm, I wonder what they’ll decide to do after hearing all the feedback from everyone who tried these out 😉
Which flavor would you try?
Are you a cereal fan (regular or bar form)?
I just thought I’d pop in for a bit with a relatively short post, since things are happening at light speed. With the half in less than 72 hours, finals next week, and graduation immediately following, I’m gonna have to “force” myself to log off, buckle down, and get some serious work done!
Reviewing food items always seems to keep my sanity in check, so I’ll leave you with a review in regards to some great finds I stumbled upon in Grocery Outlet recently.
Now it’s time to get back to the books—see ya soon ;)!
One of my favorite find this week was a 3 for $1.00 deal on Whole Soy & Co. Cherry Soy Yogurt. Soy yogurt has been growing on me, and it may even be my new favorite over greek! It probably will end up being so unless Grocery Outlet restocks Chobani single cups again! After seeing how low the prices can drop for overstocked yogurt, I can no longer justify spending $1 for a single cup ;)!
Unlike greek yogurt, soy yogurt is very runny in consistency, and a good comparison would be a yogurt smoothie. I loved how this flavor had chunky pieces of cherry (despite most of it being blended) and its great compatibility with my dollops of Biscoff and Nutella.
Even though I’m not a kid anymore (being one at heart doesn’t count ;)), I still love eating “kiddie foods”. I haven’t personally tried ordering off the kid’s menu at my age…yet, but who doesn’t love indulging in foods targeted towards kids, and enjoying the memories induced by those beloved childhood foods?
When Grocery Outlet was selling these Stonyfield YoKids Strawberry Greek Yogurts at a clearance price of $0.47 for a 4-pack (~ $0.12 per cup :o!!!), I could not resist.
The little cups have “earth-friendly” messages, this one saying something along the lines of if you turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, you can save two gallons of water :P.
They make for a perfect pair with a dollop of Nutella or Biscoff spread, and because they are so crave-able, more than one was consumed!