I admit, this post is extremely overdue, but as you can probably guess from how delayed my posts have been, it’s obviously because I’ve been very busy, haha! But as the year comes to a close, I seem to have a need to catch-up on a lot of things in my life, blog posts included! And writing about ice cream pints that Enlightened graciously sent me over the summer? I’m glad I finally have some time to put together a review post!
The review box I received upon my return from Europe in early June contained the following flavors:
My sister was visiting me that week, and so I was happy to share some of the flavors with her as well 🙂
Butter Pecan – This flavor had a nutty flavor, with slight maple undertones. The pecan pieces had a roasted, crunchy texture despite being mixed into soft ice cream.
Chocolate – My sis had the privilege of trying this flavor. Of course, she was a fan. I suggested she wait a couple minutes to let the pint soften after taking it out from the freezer. She agreed that it had much creamier texture after doing so!
Toasted Almond – With Toasted Almond, the creamy ice cream with bite-size nut pieces was perfect enough as a simple treat—but then I added a mini Lenny & Larry’s chocolate chip cookie on top. A flavor explosion ensued 😛
Chocolate Peanut Butter – I forgot to take an “inside-the-pint” pic, but it was literally a smooth chocolate base with HUGE peanut butter chunks. It reminded me of Halo Top’s Peanut Butter Cup with the hardened peanut butter pieces, so this flavor was a winner in my book.
Snickerdoodle – Ahh, I had high hopes for this one…maybe I should have added a Snickerdoodle cookie as a topping. The ice cream itself was smooth and had a light cinnamon flavor, but maybe the addition of cookie pieces or cinnamon cake pieces would have done the trick to make this flavor a stellar one.
Vanilla Bean – I absolutely loved the smooth and creamy texture—literally like velvet! I even added one of my favorite bars from the summer, GoMacro’s Protein Replenishment! I’m still on Team GoMacro, but I was obsessed over the summer, haha!
I also happened to try two other flavors that I wasn’t sent, but were also new-to-me at the time. Found them at Sprouts, my all-time favorite grocery store (besides Grocery Outlet, haha):
Red Velvet – I found this to be a “dark” flavor, if that makes sense, haha! It looked like a dark chocolate, but it definitely had a lighter, milder flavor than a bitter dark chocolate (so, better than I expected!). I also liked the cream cheese swirl, and it reminded me of Frozen Hot Cocoa without the chocolate bits. It would have been cool however, if there were cake pieces thrown in!
Black Cherry – This was a flavor I definitely did not expect to be a favorite of mine, but it was smooth, had a light and fruity taste, and a fair mix of small chocolate chunks and chewy cherry pieces. It’s soft lavendar color was appealing too! Another cookie topping proved useful here too!
It feels good to get caught up on this review, haha! Looking back at all these pics is making me crave some ice cream now, and seeing that it’s going to be in the mid-80’s today by afternoon, it doesn’t seem like too crazy of an idea to have some 😛
I had no trouble getting back into my routine after returning from Las Vegas, but one piece of news threw me for a loop.
One of my undergraduate assistants informed me that the week would be his last, even though he originally had plans to stay and help me out for a longer period of time.
Even though his change of plans was a disappointment, he still came in over the weekend, and so at least I had one solid weekend free from the constraints of lab. I definitely took advantage of this.
I was able to take the car out to Encino, and from Santa Monica it was an (almost) easy drive up the 405. I was also able to avoid paying for street parking by finding a neighborhood to park at and from there walk over.
Veggie Grill was my destination since they sent me a $5 off birthday coupon that I couldn’t resist…
…and the dish I couldn’t avoid ordering, despite having it before AND the fact that their summer menu had a mouth-watering array of options. A plate of Mondo Nachos sounded just perfect at the time.
Compared to the plate I had at the WeHo location more than a year ago, I felt like it lacked a lot of guac and soy crumbles (they replaced it with grilled chik’n this time around). This was more of an observation than a complaint, however. I also brought my laptop and did some work at the restaurant for a few hours after eating. I guess it’s more “normal” to set up shop like that at a Starbucks or a cafe,but Veggie Grill had a jammin’ playlist so I wasn’t too pressured to get up and leave!
I headed out a little after 1 and my next stop was in Grocery Outlet in Burbank. I inevitably had to face traffic, and it took me almost thirty minutes to get from Encino to Burbank.
When I did arrive however, I was ecstatic to finally be stepping into one of GO’s newer So Cal locations. Ah, it had been too long!
I made out with a week’s worth of food with plenty of change to spare, so it only made sense to drive by Glendale and finally get me some Yoga-Urt! They had been on my radar for quite some time now, and I’ve actually been following them on Instagram since their opening two years ago in 2015! Getting there by public transit always posed a challenge, but with a car handy it’s really not that impossible to get to.
The shop is very small, with a few patio chairs and tables in the front. There’s also a huge blackboard wall near the entrance, the contents of which are frequently changing.
They offered a lot on their menu, but their flavors of soft serve were limited for the day.
A turmeric/gold rose flavor sounded unique, and was listed as one of their offered flavors, but unfortunately not on the day I visited.
A small cup of froyo with one topping proved to be pricey (~$6!), but since it was vegan-friendly and a hand-crafted kind of place, I thought it was a worthy treat to splurge on. I ended up going for the Peanut Butter Prana topped with dried mulberries.
I enjoyed my cup outside, and marveled at how thick the soft serve was. It was like those So Delicious ice creams I rave about, except smoother and creamier. The mulberries added some varied crunch, but to be honest they weren’t a vital component.
After spending the day driving and eating through North LA, I made the drive back home, and spent the remainder of the evening napping and catching up on some work. I was squeezing every minute out of this “free” weekend, because who know when my next one will be!
The day after my first double run, I granted myself a rest day and enjoyed the extra hour or so in bed resting my sore head (later on in the week, I had my first migraine, and I’m thinking the trigger might have been the extreme weather change). Surprisingly, my leg muscles felt fine (probably due to the rolling I did!), but my head felt heavy, which I’m assuming was due to spending so much time exerting myself in he heat.
Needless to say, the rest day was absolutely necessary. I went into lab later in the morning, but since E was also in, we decided to head downtown together for some lunch. It was unbearably hot outside though, and the walk from 7th st. all the way to Grand Central Market had us feeling like we were melting. I was even in a tank top and shorts and felt like I was burning!
It was my first time visiting GCM (and I call myself an Angeleno!), and seeing all the foodie shops clustered in one place like that reminded me of a more crowded, packed version of the Tustin Marketplace. We first thought about checking out Eggslut, but the line was so serpentine that we thought it’d be best to try it out some other day. Instead, we opted for meals at two different stalls.
I found my meal of choice at Berlin Currywurst. The last time I had a vegetarian currywurst was ages ago, so I was happy to be able to have it again.
My options were limited, but I was able to get a medium spicy tofu kielbasa currywurst plate. It even came with half of a crusty bread roll to mop any of that excess thick tomato-based sauce!
E found a stall selling avocado toast that came out with such beautiful presentation. My side beet salad was nothing in comparison. I’m not even sure why I got it…I had assumed it was part of the meal but then I realized I had to pay extra for it 😛
After lunch, I hurried on home to catch up on sleep and just chill. I also tried another flavor of D’s Naturals Fluffbutter—Brownie Batter! Now I only have one more new-to-me flavor left to try…
Overall, I thought it had a very sharp cocoa taste, and quite a thick texture. I still have issues with mixing up all the oil thoroughly in the jar—it just has a tendency to pool up on top!
I also managed to order four new The Lion’s Pack cookie dough flavors to try during the week. My favorite of the four I purchased was this “Teddy Dough”.
I thought this cookie dough would have crushed teddy graham cookies, but I think they were all finely-ground because the texture of the cookie dough was so smooth. It was like a crumbly sunflower butter jar with a mild cinnamon flavor. I could even detect a taste of honey.
The one I was most surprised by was Red Velvet. I had much higher expectations for this one, but the jar I got had dough that was too sticky, and with a texture that was reminiscent more of cake than cookie dough.
Butterscotch Maple Cookie didn’t come across as a flavor worth remembering. Sure, there were a decent amount of butterscotch chips thrown in, but the flavor base was quite bland.
Finally, there was Cran-Orange. The mix-ins definitely overpowered the cookie dough base with this flavor, and it was definitely the frutiest of the bunch. It even had some white chocolate pieces thrown in so that was a plus!
Has the weather drastically changed where you live?
Disclaimer: I was not provided compensation except for product samples for review by Eat Enlightened, and all opinions are my own.
I rent a room in a house of an elderly couple, so I usually feel slightly embarrassed when packages arrive addressed to me. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want them assuming things if a large box arrives that says “keep on ice” or “handle with care”. Haha, they’ve never brought up their curiosities surrounding my packages, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were holding such thoughts back.
Anyways, regardless of what they thought, I was extremely excited to open up a box I received a few weeks ago to find all seven of the Eat Enlightened ice cream pints, all in brand new packaging.
I tried 6/7 flavors in earlier times, but I had not tried Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Obviously, I used this opportunity to try the flavor that has been most elusive to me all this time.
The ice cream base definitely tasted thicker, and had a peanut flavor of course. The chocolate chips were more like small chocolate chunk bits. To be honest, I got tired of this combination very quickly, but I still had the whole pint in one sitting. I am now certain that this flavor isn’t one of my top favorites, but I am so happy to have finally tried it!
Back in April, I first tried Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch, and it left me with these thoughts:
“Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch on the other hand, made my Monday evening pleasant. After a long day in lab, coming home to this pint mixed with cookie pieces and oatmeal flakes in a caramel base was super comforting.”
The new version is just as comforting as before. On first glance, I didn’t see an abundance of cookie crunch pieces, but the swirl was still there and once I got into the pint, the cookie pieces made themselves known.
I first tried Frozen Hot Cocoa the same weekend as COCC, and even topped it with a bar that did not spark the enlightened (he he) thoughts that occurred after tasting my first spoon of this pint:
“Frozen Hot Cocoa blew me away…probably because the ingredients listed GHEE as an ingredient (which I have never seen as an ice cream ingredient before!!) and the swirls were insanely delicious. Of course I soon got tired of the chocolate, but those swirls!!”
Yup, those swirls still had me. I can go through miles of chocolate ice cream if cream swirls are involved!
Apparently, I appreciated the “earthy mint” flavor of Mint Chocolate Chip in my prior tasting of it.
I knew that I would continue to like this flavor, unless there was a major change in its formulation. Fortunately, that was not the case. This time around, I topped it with a D’s Natural Mint Cocao Bar. Delicious times all around!
“But Sea Salt Caramel absolutely took my breath away. Some would argue that the caramel swirls might be too sweet, but it was all too perfect for me…ahh, if they weren’t almost $6 a pint, I would have stocked up for sure.”
I have been in awe of this flavor from the very beginning. The bright blue packaging and cursive font has only made this admiration stronger.
Since I’ve also picked up an infatuation for RX Bars, I topped it with a Coconut Chocolate RX Bar. I say, this is a tropical combo (sea + salt + coconut) that can’t be argued with 😉
I tried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough a few weeks before this box arrived, and it was a good pick-me up after learning about the election.
“I seriously had a loss of appetite after Tuesday’s events, so I’m glad its back and roared up again, haha. Despite the sadness that creeped up over me yesterday, I had to be happy about one small thing…finding the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Eatenlightened pint! I’ve been complaining about how it’s been hard to locate anywhere in LA, but I happened to find these stocked on the shelves at a Bristol Farms in Santa Monica (on Wilshire, right across from Petco, for those who are local and have been trying to find this elusive flavor yourself)! Sometimes it helps to eat your sorrows away, if it involves cookie dough chunks and a smooth, creamy ice cream 😉”
In the past few weeks since first trying it, my thoughts haven’t changed. I may have had the newer pint when it didn’t completely thaw (so it wasn’t completely smooth), but the taste was still spectacular, and the chocolate chip/cookie dough ratio was just right.
I subconsciously saved the Triple Chocolate flavor for last, as I wasn’t too fond of it when I first tried it:
“I found the Triple Chocolate Enlightened pint to be too overwhelming after a few spoonfuls (too much chocolate for me, but perhaps suitable for a choco-holic)”
For some reason, the chocolate ice cream wasn’t too overwhelming this time around, maybe because I was too focused on the chocolate fudge sauce swirl 🙂 ? Like I said, contrasting swirls balance everything out.
Overall, all of the flavors have stayed consistent in their formulation and tasted how I remembered (with the excpetion of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, since this box allowed me to try it for the first time). I also think the switch from plasic to paper-based packaging was a good decision, as it’ll make recycling them a simpler task.
Which of these flavors are your favorite, or which would you like to try?
It felt so freeing to be able to take a break from being a “city girl”, and take a week off to go to my first home of Tulsa, OK. It was an easy-going week filled with naps, cuddling with my cat, runs at River Park (though they were shorter than what I’m used to doing, due to some shin pain I’ve been having), ice cream and custard runs, get-togethers, shopping, movie and Olympics-watching, and getting in as much home-cooked dinners as possible.
In the beginning of the week, I spent most of my time at home, and when my Dad got off work, we would go grocery shopping or to River Park for some breath of fresh air. After familiarizing myself with the area, I went to River Park in the following days for morning runs. My left posterior shin was acting up, so my runs ended up being short and semi-sweet.
On one night, we went stopped by Braum’s—a ubiquitous dairy shop in Oklahoma—for some late night ice cream. It’s almost like the dessert version of McDonald’s in Oklahoma. I got a cup of birthday cake ice cream, which ended up being a bright blue scoop with soft chunks of vanilla pound cake mixed in.
Since my Dad had a free pastry to redeem at Panera, we went there for breakfast. We split a coffee, an egg sandwich with cheese and avocado, and a sugary-sweet bearclaw.
We didn’t eat out much on this trip because I wanted to take advantage of having home-cooked meals prepared (with love J ) and we also ate at get-togethers at friends’ houses. For lunch on my last full day in Tulsa, we went to a housewarming of one of my dad’s co-workers. They had Desi food catered, and we piled on the trays as we made our way down the marble countertop in the kitchen of their new home.
Later that day, my Dad and I went to the movies to watch Ghostbusters (while I love the SNL ladies, the movie was ‘meh’), and afterwards, had a treat to cool-off that’s favored in the Midwest and South over froyo! I think there is only about two froyo places in all of Tulsa, and if you have a craving for something sweet, frozen, but not ice cream, your next best thing is frozen custard.
Andy’s Frozen Custard was very close to the theater we went to, and I told my Dad I would pay for the both of us. My way of saying thanks for not having to buy groceries that week 😉
They had so many variations on frozen custard available. While vanilla and chocolate are the main base flavors, they can be included in the creation of a sundae or concrete, the latter of which involves a crazy amount of mix-ins and sauces depending on what combination caught your eye.
My Dad and I decided to keep it simple and just get a cone/cup of the base flavors chocolate and vanilla. We enjoyed our desserts outside, and I took note of the smooth, creamy taste of my custard. It was light, but not froyo-light. It actually had the creaminess of a soft-serve you’d get at a fast food restaurant.
I knew that after giving one of the base flavors a try, I would have to come back to try a concrete. Seeing as my next trip won’t be until December, I’ll probably have the chance to choose from seasonal flavors…like candy cane!
Overall, my six-day trip to Oklahoma was a good one. I was sad to leave so soon, and honestly wouldn’t have mind staying another week. Time will fly by before I know it though, and I am planning to make my winter stay a longer one.
We had our fill on Thanksgiving and Black Friday no doubt, but my sister had her heart set on venturing out to the one and only Dirty Cookie in Tustin for their trademark cookie shots.
I hadn’t realized it before, but they happened to be in the same Tustin Ranch area as the Native Foods I visited over the summer. Unfortunately, the Native Foods closed, but I did not venture into the Union Market last time…
Little did I know I was missing out on A LOT. Dirty Cookie was one of them. Thanks to my sis, I know I’ll have to be back so I can check out the other foodie stalls inside—everything from customizable s’mores to ice cream crepes!
There was one employee working at the time we visited, and she gleefully filled us in on the concept. We got to choose our flavor shot glass-shaped cookie, and pick chocolate milk, regular milk, or vanilla cream as our milk to go inside the cookie shot. Each cookie was also coated with belgian chocolate :9 !!
I chose the pumpkin spice cookie, which was coated in white chocolate and topped with cinnamon spice. I had the vanilla cream as my milk.
My sis got the chocolate (of course) cookie, and filled it to the brim with regular ol’ milk (which surprised me—I thought she would choose the chocolate milk without fail 😛 ).
We also got a chocomint cookiewich to share, which tasted like a soft peppermint whoopie pie. It actually ended up being my favorite, since I found the cookie shot too sweet. Even the vanilla cream tasted more like regular milk…I was expecting it to be thicker and well, creamier.
My sis absolutely adored her chocolate cookie shot, and her sweetness quota was maxed out for the day. I’m glad that it at least met her expectations 😉
Starting on June 23rd, I set out to do my biggest running challenge yet (besides running my first marathon)…run 100 miles over the course of 10 days. In other words, the 10 x 10 challenge. I happened to first learn about it from other blogs, and apparently it started off as a challenge on Facebook. I thought that since I had the time (work in lab has been relatively calm compared to my crazy schedule in May!), and since I was starting to feel bored with just trying to “maintain” at 30 miles a week, I thought why not give this challenge a go?
Throughout the challenge, I learned a lot about what I could accomplish (it’s all about mindset!), some running-related tips to keep in mind for the future, and I also used it as an opportunity to try various Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors since I was on-the-go for ten straight days.
Day 1 – I set my alarm for 5:30am, and didn’t wake up a minute earlier. I didn’t feel too tired, and actually felt ready to go and start this whole thing! I broke down the 10 mile goal in my mind, mentally “tricking” myself into thinking it was just a 6 mile run as usual, with an added 4 mile “cool down”. Before leaving for the run, I had some mulberries as pre-run fuel.
I returned ~ 1 hr and 40 minutes later, and prepped dinner while munching on some Quest Bars as my post-run fuel. After dinner was set and cooking in the crockpot, I stopped by my apartment complex’s gym for a quick lower-body workout, and then went about my day as usual, doing my usual weekday things.
Day 2 – I woke up still feeling sleepy when my alarm buzzed at 5:30AM, but I still managed to get out the door after consuming two Quest Bars. I was able to mentally convince myself again that it would just be another 6 + 4 mile run. Once I hit the 6 mile mark, I could feel it start to warm up considerably, and I knew my hair was going to be a sweaty mess after this! Still, I was able to zone out, despite my quads getting sore around the 8-9 mile mark.
After the run, I prepped dinner and finished up my exercise-packed morning with an upper-body lifting session. In the hours that followed, I went about my day as usual, even though taking a nap didn’t seem like such a bad idea!
Since my energy levels did feel like they were taking a dip, I figured that after running 20 miles over two days made me deserving of an extra treat that would also keep me going for tomorrow’s run.
I had been eyeing the Red Velvet Cake flavor of Ben & Jerry’s—which is only in stock near me at a local pharmacy—just for this purpose.
It literally tasted like a frozen slice of red velvet cake! The cake pieces were somewhat soggy, and had the consistency of rubbery marshmallows, but given that they were mixed in with ingredients that were cold and wet, this would have to be excusable 😉 .
The cream cheese frosting swirl somehow managed to keep its texture and flavor, and the pink color of the ice cream brightly illuminated the living room (okay, a slight exaggeration, but it was enough to make my roommate notice my evening treat!)
Day 3 – I think the ice cream helped from Day 2, because I surprisingly ran at a faster pace on Day 3. After stopping by lab in the morning, I left early for a doctor’s appointment, and spent the rest of my afternoon running some errands since I had to make the trip all the way to Beverly Hills in the first place.
Running 10 miles in the morning + walking all over town left me with a sore left heel (the sneakers and thin socks I was wearing only exacerbated the issue), but fortunately it wasn’t debilitating enough to interrupt my challenge.
I was able to fit in another pint that night—Blondie Ambition, which I ended up finding at a grocery store closer to my apartment, even though I wasted waited almost forty minutes at a City Target closer to the doctor’s office for an employee to check if they still had any more of the flavor.
Even though the bus ride home took longer than my usual weekend trips (that forty minutes waiting around in Target cost me much more time waiting on the roads…), being able to come home and have a new pint to try after dinner was quite an incentive.
This flavor surprisingly “took the cake” (sorry Red Velvet!). The ice cream was a sweet buttercream flavor (it was certainly very smooth!), and it had blondie chunks and crunchy toffee pieces—that were able to maintain their crisp texture—strewn in. I can honestly say I was slightly melancholy when the pint was demolished.
Day 4 – My legs stayed sore (specifically upper/inner quads), but it was not debilitating enough to keep me from running. Once I was out the door and running, the soreness subsided, and my mood even picked up. It helped that the morning weather was overcast, but as my run progressed, I was a sticky mess once again. The last two miles were mentally challenging, but I persevered and went about my day.
I felt an incredible feeling of exhaustion around afternoon, and 3:00pm easily felt like 6:00pm. I still had to stop by the grocery store, and so in the process, picked up another pint along with my groceries. I originally was saving this one for Saturday night, but I couldn’t wait—the physical exertion and mental exhaustion from the week were just too much 😛 !
At least it wasn’t something Chunky Monkey couldn’t fix!
Now, I’m far from being a banana fan, but I had to give this flavor some credit for not being overpowering, and for having just enough chocolate chunks to balance whatever banana flavor was there in the first place!
As soon as I finished consuming this pint, I immediately felt my eyes start to droop. I guess it was the perfect nightcap?
Day 5 – I was not looking forward to waking up as early as I do on weekdays on a Saturday morning, despite going to bed very early on Friday night. I had a good night’s rest, but sadly, had to get up at 5:30AM yet again—the challenge was calling.
I did end up running at 6:30AM instead of 6:00AM, and definitely noticed the sudden change in temperature earlier than mid-run. I kept the run simple with several loops to total 10 miles. Mile 9 was tough on the legs, but once I got through, I felt absolutely accomplished.
At least the rest of my day was less demanding in regards to time. After stopping by the new Panera Bread in Beverly Hills for lunch, I went to a nearby Pavillions to pick up the Boston Cream Pie flavor of B&Js—as you can see, one of the perks of this challenge was having ice cream everyday 😉
After leaving it in the freezer for an hour or so (the cons of long bus rides…), I dug right in, and savored the pastry cream filling and cake pieces. Seriously—how do the folks at Ben & Jerry’s do it?? True, the pastry cream filling looked more like lemon-lime Gu rather than something squeezed over a pie, but it was delicious nonetheless. And eating it while watching a complementary chick flick (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) on TV made the Saturday night in even more perfect.
Day 6 – I broke up the run into a 7 miler + 5k Race since I was running this race later in the morning. I still had to wake up bright and early, but at least I was able to look forward to a change of running scenery. I rode the train to Culver City, and from there, ran along Venice Blvd. as a 7 mile “warm-up”. My destination was Crescent Bay Park, where I participated in a 5K benefiting lymphedema research.
Not only was the race for a good cause, but I also brought home an exorbitant amount of food bars! Quest Bars included! I decided to head home right after since I was itching for a shower (literally…).
Day 7 – Mondays are normally rest days from running for me, so waking up to go for a run had me feeling quite odd. I ended up running my favorite weekday 6 mile course, with a 2 mile out-and-back to get my full ten in. The run was hot and humid, and left me sweaty and sticky!
In other words, there was no point in showering the day before :/
I immediately put the A/C on back at home, prepped for dinner, completed an upper-body workout, and then headed off to work.
Once I got home, I literally did not feel like doing anything. Even washing the dishes—which I usually find relaxing—felt like such a chore.
Day 8 – The quad soreness crept back, and I could feel them for the entire run. I also woke up ravenous, and had two Quest Bars as pre-run fuel. I had planned a lower-body workout, but it was near to impossible to complete, at least as far as my quads were concerned. I ended up doing a lot of stretching during this time, which is something I don’t do as often as I should…
Day 9 – My second-to-last day of the challenge turned out to be my most interesting one! Improper fueling in the morning led to a bloated stomach, and I had to stop running after 5 miles (heartburn, ick!). I told myself that I could finish my final 5 miles in the evening, and even though I prefer to get my workouts done in the morning, I managed to change back into my running clothes as soon as I got to the apartment.
Okay…so running for ice cream had a big deal to do with it, but I ended up running at 8:55/mi, which has been the fastest pace for me throughout this whole challenge!
Plus, who wouldn’t want to run for Karamel Sutra? It was the final B&J Core I had to try (at least from what’s currently available in the US!).
Another ice cream pint, another cause for roommate envy 😉
Day 10 – The final run! The weather was perfect (cloudy skies), and I wanted to make most of my run include downtown. I fueled just right (keeping note of the previous day’s mishap) and completed the run at a 9:26/mi pace. I would say it was a good note to end on.
The rest of the day was spent in lab, followed by a trip over to Union Station to pick up the sis since she was spending the 3-day weekend with me!
Three full days off from running to rest and recharge that happened to coincide when my sister was here?! I have to admit, I took into account the timing of the three-day weekend when I decided to embark on this challenge.
Overall, the challenge went better than I expected. I was pleased to have been able to complete the distance each day for ten straight days, and I was able to prove to myself that with the right mindset and discipline in place, anything is possible. It also helps to know that, if necessary, I could run a great distance over a consecutive period of days if I had big plans coming up that prevented me from running (like traveling, hectic school schedule, etc.).
Runners: have you heard of, or completed, the 10 x 10 Challenge?
Memorial Day Weekend was such a blast! Having company over twice this month has made time fly by so quickly, which is great since that means I’m almost done with the specific set of experiments that have been requiring so much time from me as of late…
My weekend started off with a productive Friday in lab, and before heading home, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some essentials so I wouldn’t have to worry about it when my friend arrived. I also “had” to get my pint for the night—Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Froyo! Can you believe that it was my firsttime trying this?!
The mix of chocolate and vanilla frozen yogurt was perfect, and how can you go wrong with moist, chewy bite-size pieces of brownies mixed with cookie dough?! I can see why it’s so popular. In fact, I witnessed a girl clean out a local Fresh & Easy of all the pints they had of this flavor one night, stating to her friends that it’s so hard for her to find, haha.
On Saturday, my friend drove down to visit me for the weekend! Since she wasn’t expecting to arrive in the city before 2PM, that gave me plenty of time to take of my lab duties in the morning. The timing actually worked out quite precisely since I had enough time to finish, make it back to the apartment, change into some flip flops, and meet my friend to let her into the parking garage.
She was able to also stop by my parents’ house before driving down, so she brought plenty of goods from home for me to unpack (discount yogurts, oh yeah!). We also spent an hour chatting it up and catching up, since the last time I saw her was back in December/January!
Once we took care of unpacking, we decided to walk around DTLA and have dinner near Little Tokyo. The weather was overcast—not too cold, not too warm—and so it made so much sense to go out for some fresh air by going for a refreshing walk.
We eventually made our way to the Little Tokyo Mall, and stopped in Daiso just to browse around. We spotted so many cute things, like miniature silverware, coffee mugs, and happy trashcans.
For dinner, we actually ended up eating at Shojin, the vegan sushi place I reviewed three years ago on an old blog of mine.
And while there were some minor changes I noticed in this visit when compared to my intial one, the dim lighting was unfortunately not one of them…the menu was though!
It was now more sophisticated, simply printed on cardstock in a professional font. Long gone are the days of anime-style animals and characters on the cover of a laminated folding menu.
The bathroom was just as cute, pink, and adorable as before…
Even though this place is known for their all-vegan sushi rolls, my friend and I chose to get non-roll menu items. Specifically, I went for the Marinated Seitan Steak while my friend feasted on the gluten-free Avocado Tempura Salad.
The marinated seitan steak was comprised of grilled seitan cutlets (with grill marks too!), topped with butter, and served with brown rice and three humble pieces of veggies on the side. The salad had tempura avocado, greens, almonds, wasabi mayo, and sweet tomato dressing.
Even though our table was set with chopsticks, I was given a knife and fork to attack my seitan cutlets, haha.
We walked off dinner by taking a long walk home, and then spent the rest of the evening chillin’ in the apartment before going to sleep around 10PM.
On Sunday, I checked off my usual to-do items such as a long run, and lab duties, but was free once again in the afternoon. We stopped by a local grocery store so my friend could pick up an ice cream pint for our ‘ice cream party’ later in the evening.
Soon after that, we were off on the bus for a late, late lunch/early dinner at Urban Garden near the Grove.
It was an hour-long commute, so we were starving by the time we arrived. We spent a good amount of time staring at the menu. Even though the main offerings were predominantly plates and wraps, there was a wide variety of possible combinations—so it was hard to come to a final decision!
I eventually went with a vegetable hearty plate with spicy falafel, babaganoush, and golden cous cous. My friend also got a plate with hummus and cucumber salad as the ‘main stars’.
Apparently this establishment takes pride in having serving the best hummus in LA, and my friend was a sure fan. I wouldn’t say they made the best babaganoush I’ve ever tasted, but it was certainly up there, and quite nourishing.
Between the two of us, we did a pretty good job.
Needless to say, we left with full bellies and content hearts. We walked over to Vitamin Shoppe, and then stopped inside Sur La Table before continuing our walk down 3rd St. We walked through the park next to the Grove, and stopped to take a look at the Holocaust Memorial.
Our super long walk eventually got us to Wilshire, where we decided to call it a day and head back home—ice cream was waiting for us, after all!
We were able to take the train home, and after taking showers and changing into our jammies, we busted open our ice cream pints!
I found the Peanut Buttah Cookie Core the same day I found the Half Baked Froyo pint, and saved it just for this occasion. I was on cloud nine eating through this peanut butter ice cream mixed with crystallized peanut butter cookie bits and a cookie butter core. Swoon!
I couldn’t have asked for a better evening with my friend—eating our ice cream pints while watching 500 Questions may have been the most simplest thing to do, but it felt just right. Sometimes the most unappreciated things we do on a daily basis are much more meaningful when you have company to do them with 🙂
What was your Memorial Day Weekend like this year?
Note: The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
One of the races I signed up for this year includes some trail paths, and it’s scheduled for late March. While I have not yet taken the time to “practice” fueling on-the-go, I’m pretty sure that obviously whatever I plan to consume should be easy to hold onto and should sit well in my stomach.
I once did try to eat a chocolate PowerBar on the go, and that didn’t turn out to well for my first time. Perhaps next time I should go with something more lighter, yet packed with the needed nutrients and carbs every runner needs?
A bar (my kind of food!) made with natural ingredients and is vegetarian-friendly (that’s why I like anything labeled “vegan”—it’s like a default safety sticker since I’m a vegetarian)?
Even though I didn’t sample these bars on-the-go in the literal sense, they gave me enough energy to keep me going throughout the days I had them. All five flavors of Skout Organic Trailbars were a home run for sure.
I was able to sample 10 bars in total, since the folks at Skout graciously sent me two of each flavor. I couldn’t decide which flavor to try first so I picked out a flavor lottery style—out from a bag came cherry + vanilla!
Just from looking at the bar, I could tell it was going to be chewy and soft. Even so, the bar was packed with dried fruits (cherries specifically with this bar). I didn’t think I would be able to detect the vanilla flavor, but was pleasantly surprised that I was able to.
Maybe it was the light & bright green wrapper, but the apple cinnamon bar sounded very appealing to me when I found the chance to sample it one morning. The cinnamon could definitely be detected in this flavor, bringing some actual “spice” to this bar and it also had that little kick to get me out the door for a long day in my lab classes.
The Chocolate/Peanut Butter combo is a classic, but ultimate favorite of mine. Skout’s version was no exception. I absolutely adored this bar and its textures, which included pieces of peanuts and organic dates! Yes, they somehow managed to squeeze fruit into this combo, and I honestly would have never known if I had not taken a peek at the ingredients list, which, by the way is quite succinct:
Another chocolate flavor was included in the bunch, and was infused with some tropical coconut! The texture was much smoother than the chocolate + peanut butter combo, but the chocolate still prevailed. In both chocolate flavors, chocolate was the obvious star but the coconut (in this flavor) and the peanut (in the previous flavor) both fulfilled their duties as supporting flavors.
Last, but certainly not least, was the blueberry and almonds flavor. It wasn’t a knock-out for me, but the texture was much smoother than I expected since I assumed the almonds would pack a little crunch just as the peanuts did in the chocolate and peanut butter flavor.
I think a Skout Bar would be the perfect way to fuel during a long run, or even hiking/rock climbing as the brand suggests. Pretty much anyone who needs energy for their adventures (workouts, workday, whatever!) would find these bars satisfying and sustaining.
Thanks again to the folks of Skout Organic Trailbar!
Have you tried a Skout Bar?
Do you fuel on long runs, or any run in general? What do you fuel with?
Madison nominated me for The Super Sweet Blogging Award a while back, and I was in the mood to fill it out (finally). Thanks again to the lovely Madison :)!
Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you.
Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.
Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen (13) blogs.
Super Sweet Questions:
1. Cookies or Cake?
I love both, but I think cake takes the cake (haha?). I will admit that I’ve always been fond of those soft sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles on them…you know, the ones that are featured at the front of the grocery store and are often the go-to desserts for elementary classroom parties and potlucks?
Yeah, these were my excuse to party!
2. Chocolate or Vanilla? I love both, and it really depends on what is chocolate or what is vanilla. For example, I love chocolate frosting on white/yellow cakes or cookies, but I prefer vanilla meringues over chocolate. If I have to choose between chocolate or vanilla ice cream, I’m gonna go with vanilla.
3. What is your favorite sweet treat? It’s never too cold for ice cream, or even froyo. With lots of fun toppings like rainbow mochi and sprinkles!
4. When do you crave sweet things the most? It makes the most sense to crave things when you haven’t had them in a while, so I’ll usually crave sweets if I’m eating more fruits and veggies than usual. I try to treat myself to some form of sweets frequently though, so I don’t often have crazy cravings.
5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Um, not sure? As long as it’s not sweetie pie, honey buns, or sugar lips, I’m good :P.
I’m gonna skip the nominations, but feel free to answer any of the questions above! I’m off to start my super sweet weekend with a long nap…I have reached the halfway point of classes this quarter, and I am already BEAT!