July Degustabox Review

July Degustabox Review

How is July already almost over?! But to be honest, I’m usually excited for August’s arrival because it means birthday month!

In a way, I guess I was able to celebrate my last month of being 24 with this month’s Degustabox that I was sent to review.

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There were a lot more ready-to-eat snacks this month in comparison to the past few months, which is something I prefer since I’m always on the go, and rarely in the kitchen taking the time to cook something elaborate (even though that would be nice…)

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Mrs. Thinster’s Brownie Batter Cookie Thins were an obvious favorite of mine. Not only did they have a crisp texture, but there were enough chocolate chips to fit within the small cookies to give it a melty vibe. They reminded me overall of a flattened version of Famous Amos cookies.

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The snack bag sizes of the products in this month’s box were convenient for on-the-go travel. I took the bag of Kala Beautiful Beans to lab one day and had them throughout the morning, chomping on them between incubation periods and washing steps for an experiment I was doing!

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When it’s mid-July and the summer heat still isn’t enough, maybe some Tropical Curry Kala fava beans will do the trick. Spicy lime at your service πŸ‘ŒπŸ½πŸŒΆ πŸ‹ @degustabox

The tropical curry flavor was an intense spicy, lime flavor—and it does stick to your breath, so you have been warned!

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One item I was excited about wasn’t physically in the box, but redeemable with a coupon. RX Bar provided a “free bar” coupon that could be redeemable on any RX Bar! I think the company was feeling generous this month because I also saw them table a booth at the IDEA World/Blogfest conference last weekend. Both my coupon and samples at the conference allowed me to sample some of the new flavors, including Peanut Butter Chocolate!

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Not my favorite @rxbar , but Chocolate Peanut Butter sounds like a safe enough flavor to add to your line-up of bars. I love the Peanut Butter flavor by itself, but for me, the addition of chocolate chunks was a bit much in terms of the texture and flavor. It does look pretty in the light though β˜€οΈ

The mini buttery vanilla Waffle Waffle waffle was a pleasantly surprising snack. I expected it be a dry and bland, but it had pieces of pearl sugar mixed in, as well as coated on top, so it had enough sweetness to balance out any dry dough.

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It definitely had a buttery taste and a vanilla aroma, a nice crunch from the pearl sugar, and like the wrapper exclaimed it didn’t need syrup, but it wouldn’t hurt to add a topping or two to it!

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“How does a nice buttery, vanilla waffle made from a batter mixed with crunchy pearls of sugar sound for breakfast today? πŸžβ˜•οΈπŸ΄Apparently #nosyrupneeded πŸ˜…”

This Mutti Tomato Sauce was a pure delight for mixing my crockpot vegetables in.

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I was so hungry the night(s) I used this, so I’m lacking dinner pics of veggies-piled-high crockpot bowls with a generous serving of thin, flavorful tomato sauce on top. I usually like a thicker consistency for sauces and liquids meant to function as meals, but the thin consistency of this sauce seemed to work well.

The bottle of Karma Wellness Water I must say was the one product this month that fascinated me the most. The featured flavor was acai pomegranate, and it is boasted as an “immunity booster”, with contents such as vitamin C4, zinc, berry extracts, and tea extracts.

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The vitamins are supposed to be infused only when you are ready to drink. The cap on top contains the mix that you push down on in order to release everything into the plain water that is actually inside the bottle. Shake well, and you’re good to go!

I thought I had deja vu when I saw these…

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And when I did take a look back at my previous posts, I did indeed notice that I had tried these popcorn snacks before! Just about a year ago in fact, when I first started working with Degustabox…

What I thought then…

The Wise popcorn bags I received came in lightly salted and Cinnabon flavors. I made my usual weeknight after-dinner snack of protein powder mixed with yogurt (proyo), and topped the bowl with popcorn. In this bowl, I topped it with the Cinnabon flavor and snacked on the lightly salted flavor on the side. The Cinnabon flavor was not very strong to my disappointment, and the popcorn of both flavors tasted somewhat stale (as in they didn’t have a robust crunch to them).

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…and I don’t think my opinion has changed to much since a year ago. I still thought the Cinnabon popcorn didn’t have a strong flavor, but both were decent-sized, palatable snacks.

The King Arthur Flour for Everyone’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix was an interesting addition. I like the graphic design of the packaging for some reason…makes me think of making something from scratch…

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…I guess that’s the point! The mix definitely has the fresh aroma of a semi-sweet chocolate chip cookie ready to be baked, and there were plenty of medium-sized chocolate chips in the mix. Haven’t had a chance to completely bake with the mix yet, but I don’t think it will disappoint!

The Goya Olive Oil is another item I have yet to (but am eager to try!) and since the jerky sticks were obviously a meat product, I had to hand them over to the six-foot-something post-doc in my lab— since he’ll eat anything that’s on our common table, haha!

Which of these items would you snack on while pondering over where your summer has gone?!

Shoutfest at The Spoon

Shoutfest at The Spoon

Last week flew right on by! I took the first three days of the week fully off to recover from the marathon and let my muscles, black toe nail, and heel blister rest. I was able to get back into a running groove with some short runs, and actually felt quite refreshed!

Since E was in lab over the weekend (as was I, haha), we decided to convene for a late lunch in Koreatown after finishing up our work. We left around 2pm, but didn’t sit down to eat until about an hour later, since the restaurant we’d thought about visiting was closed for filming…despite there not being any signs/security guards indicating that the restaurant was closed to the public.

Since we were getting quite hungry, Korean-Italian sounded delicious and we immediately walked towards Wilshire/Western.

The Spoon was actually right across from the Paris Baguette I visited back in September after running a 10k in Koreatown. I remember noticing it at the time and thought how cute it looked…I then promptly forgot about it, until coming here now with E.

The Spoon
The Spoon in Koreatown

Inside, the set-up was sleek, yet adorable at the same time. Two adjectives that can only be used to describe a Korean fusion restaurant I suppose…

Menu and inside-of-restaurant peep.
Menu and inside-of-restaurant peep.

We both were unsure about what entree to get, so we decided to get a 10″ pizza and split it.

We waited a while for the pizza to show up, but in the meantime we sipped on some waters and tried to cool off from the brisk walk we had outside under the hot LA sun. It reminded me of how hot it got during the september 10k!

When our pizza arrived, we were more than ready to dig in. E’s a pescatarian, so it was easy to choose a pizza that satisfied both of us—the “Fresh Garden Pizza” was a thin crust pizza with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese cubes, onion, mushroom, zucchini, bell pepper, chopped romaine lettuce (that’s a first for me…), and roman tomato. The pizza was sliced up into ten almost-equivalent slices.

I actually like the crisp, cool touch of the lettuce. The cheese cubes were cute too.

Fresh Garden Vegetabe
Fresh Garden Pizza!!!

After devouring every slice but one, we got a waiter over to prepare the bill. As he turned to walk away, I asked that he split it but then E piped in right away instructing him not to do so. From that point on it was shout-fest between me and her, scaring the poor guy and confusing him as to whether he should split the bill or not.

Ultimately, E won since he said they could only put $10 minimum on a card. Our pizza was $18. So E had her way and pizza was on her—this time πŸ˜‰

How often do you like going out to eat with friends?

Are your friends willing to split the bill, or is it always a battle when it comes to whose paying?

The Spoon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MTR: Week 2

MTR: Week 2

I woke up last Sunday morning to see clouds outside my window, but fortunately the temperature was not too cold. I was able to head out to Santa Monica with my team for a 9 miler in some Under Armour running tights and an old race tee—no layers necessary πŸ˜€ !

The 9 miler itself was a two-part run, with the first part being an out-and-back along the beach (7 miles), and then finishing up the last two miles down Ocean Ave. It would have been the perfect run—if it were not for the mild humidity (sticky skin = eww), the entitled bikers who think they own the entire strip of road along the beach, and the random staircase we had to climb back up to the pier, just so we could finish two more miles (slightly ruined my mojo).

 Walking back from the LSD on Sunday.
Walking back from the LSD on Sunday.

At least we had snacks and water when we finished, and I decided to stick around in the area after the run (hey, now I only had to pay one-way for the bus ride home!). I decided to make the ~40 minute walk over to Venice Beach so I could have lunch at Seed Kitchen.

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Welcome to Venice.

Walking near the beach was quite a site once I hit Venice. There were street artists lining the road, as well as crowds consisting of skateboarders, tourists, and the occasional verbal brawlers. But after I turned left, away from the beach, I ended up walking along a quiet street of local shops and cafes. Seed Kitchen was nearby.

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Vegan deliciousness or veggie delite? Hmmm…

After stepping inside, I was somewhat taken by surprise since I expected the restaurant to be a lot larger than it actually was. It did have that cozy feel to it however.

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I took a look at the menu at the front counter, and decided to go for the BBQ Tempeh Bowl.

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I don’t know why I can’t resist ordering some kind of bowl dish from vegan restaurants. Perhaps it’s because I know I won’t be disappointed—or at least not entirely—since I can expect a variety of ingredients.

 BBQ Tempeh Bowl - a gluten-free bowl with steamed kale, bean sprouts, carrot shreds, and bbq tempeh served over organic brown rice :)
BBQ Tempeh Bowl – a gluten-free bowl with steamed kale, bean sprouts, carrot shreds, and bbq tempeh served over organic brown rice πŸ™‚

Other than the small size (compared to the price) and the BBQ sauce actually tasting more like a tangy tomato sauce, this bowl did NOT disappoint.

 Just look at that tempeh!
Just look at that tempeh!

I ravaged through the tempeh too quickly—as I didn’t have any to mix with my rice that was pressed to the bottom of the bowl!

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Ah well, the rice was good on its own anyways πŸ™‚

Even though I felt like I fueled up well after the 9 miler on Sunday, my energy the rest of the week didn’t measure up, at least in the beginning.

Sunday – LSD 9 miler at 9:30/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday3 miler early morning solo-run at 9:38/mi

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Rest

Friday 5 miler not-so-early morning solo-run at 9:13/mi πŸ˜€

Saturday – Rest (originally planned a 6 miler)


Total Mileage -> 17 miles

I had to nix my planned early weekday morning runs since I felt too tired, especially from Tues-Thurs, and I think that may have affected my pace on Tuesday. I originally planned for it to be a 4 miler, but I was surprised I was even able to make it to 3. It was definitely not my best run for the week, since instead of feeling pumped and energized, I wanted to get back into bed after the run!

At least Friday’s 5 miler proved to be much better. I got up at my own time since I didn’t have class (just lab), and did not try to rush myself to get out the door and back before a certain time. On Saturday, I felt lazy tired again, and used my morning to catch up on studying before heading out to lunch. I also “excused” myself out of the run since I was going to run 10 miles the next day with the team! 

Do you like taking unplanned rest days, or find that it throws you off?

Seed Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Feeling Savory for Shakshuka

Feeling Savory for Shakshuka

Whenever I think of a savory breakfast, my mind immediately goes to eggs—scrambled, sunny-side up, or hard-boiled. Even though you can make so many creative dishes with eggs, I often find it hard to think of something to make beyond the basic omelet, especially if my stomach is growling at me to feed it something quick!

I was browsing through an old issue of Vegetarian Times (VT) when I stumbled upon a recipe for Shakshuka. The picture of four poached eggs surrounded by a blanket of diced tomatoes made my mouth water, and I knew right away that this had to be my breakfast the next morning.

Shakshuka is known to be a popular Israeli breakfast, but is of Tunisian origin, according to it’s Wiki page. It is a dish comprised of poached eggs, surrounded by tomato sauce and diced vegetables that include onions, tomato, pepper, and spices.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka
Makes 2 servings.
Adapted from VT, which is suitable for 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup mushroom
  • A tomato or two
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • Two eggs
  • Salt
  • Garlic, cayenne, jalapeno, and basil are optional

Directions

  • In a skillet, brown cumin seeds. Add onion and garlic, and sautee in oil until soft.
  • Add other vegetables one-by-one.
  • Dissolve tomato paste in 1/2 cup of water. Add to mixture.
  • Cover and cook until most of water is gone.
  • Beat the eggs in a separate container.
  • Make a cavity in the middle of scramble, and pour egg mixture into it.
  • Cover again, and reduce the heat until egg is cooked through.

Shakshuka Single Serving

It almost looks like a cheese pizza without the crust if you look at it a certain way! My dad and I split this for breakfast a few mornings ago and we both loved it. It would probably taste even more delicious with some Boca crumbles and ketchup (eggs and ketchup are a superb combo in my book :D!)

Have your breakfasts mostly been sweet or savory lately? Or do you make sure to mix it up regularly?

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