Good Things Come in Twos

Good Things Come in Twos

Over the past few weeks, I came across some new-to-me food products, but I was stuck trying to figure out a way to get them featured in a blog post.

Then I realized that all of them came “in twos”, and at least for each product I tried, I was able to compare and contrast two different flavors. I didn’t have a strong dislike for one flavor over another for each of the products, so then it hit me—“good things come in twos”!

A developing veggie chip brand, protein bar company, and well-known greek yogurt company with novel “flip” creations are all featured here for your reading enjoyment!

Crunchables are dehydrated veggie snacks that are flavored with an intriguing spice mix, and right now, the company is going through its first steps as a start-up! I was excited when Michelle and Cindy (founders of Crunchables) asked if I could sample two of their products:

The BBQ chips had a mild cheese-like flavor, and the dehydrated veggies used here were broccoli crown pieces. They actually were coated with a dark red powder, and had a sweet taste with a spicy kick of an aftertaste.

BBQ
BBQ

The Nacho cheese chips were thick, flat pieces of dried eggplant. Even though the flavor was titled as “nacho cheese”, these chips actually reminded me of buttered toast!

Nacho Cheese
Nacho Cheese

Beyond the fact that the snacks are just seasoned dehydrated veggies, gluten-free, raw, and vegan, the veggies that are used for the snacks can be traced back to “ugly veggie” origins. The company is focused on a food waste reduction angle, and by working with local farmers to use veggies that would otherwise go to waste, they’re able to lower costs and reduce food waste. I think that’s a pretty cool!

When I heard there was a protein bar that was branded as Too Busy To Eat, and when I confirmed its existence because the name sounded hilarious, I was fascinated and knew that I had to see what these bars were all about.

toobusy
These bars were bigger than I had expected, given their nutrition facts!

I was sent the Double Chocolate Chip and Cookie Dough flavors to review. I immediately fell in love with the DCC flavor, as I found it dense, but very chewy. It had a slight crunch, and if I had to compare it to another common protein bar, I’d say it’s like the Double Chocolate Chunk Quest bar except TBTE’s flavor is much more palatable in my opinion 😉

Even if I wasn't "too busy to eat", I'd eat this Too Busy To Eat Double Chocolate Chip Bar. It has a fudgy texture with chocolate crispies mixed in, and it is outstanding at maintaining a mild chocolate flavor despite it literally being all chocolate! I couldn't detect any of that "protein flavor" that is usually common in these kinds of bars (I often found it an issue with the Chocolate Chunk Quest bars...), and I highly recommend this bar by itself, or cut up and added as a dense topping to yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
Even if I wasn’t “too busy to eat”, I’d eat this Too Busy To Eat Double Chocolate Chip Bar. It has a fudgy texture with chocolate crispies mixed in, and it is outstanding at maintaining a mild chocolate flavor despite it literally being all chocolate! I couldn’t detect any of that “protein flavor” that is usually common in these kinds of bars (I often found it an issue with the Chocolate Chunk Quest bars…), and I highly recommend this bar by itself, or cut up and added as a dense topping to yogurt, oatmeal, etc.

The cookie dough flavor wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t remind me of anything related to cookie dough. It had a milky flavor, light crisp texture, and overall had more of a vanilla flavor rather than cookie dough.

This Cookie Dough flavored Too Busy To Eat Bar did not remind of cookie dough to be honest. It tasted more like a vanilla fudge bar with crispier mixed in. I mean, it tasted alright as a protein bar, but I wouldn't compare it to cookie dough, even in its raw form.
This Cookie Dough flavored Too Busy To Eat Bar did not remind of cookie dough to be honest. It tasted more like a vanilla fudge bar with crispier mixed in. I mean, it tasted alright as a protein bar, but I wouldn’t compare it to cookie dough, even in its raw form.

They also have a Vanilla Coconut “superfood” bar flavor, and the bars have about 20 grams or protein, 20 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of sugar. They are grass-fed whey protein-based (so while not vegan, they are vegetarian), gluten-free, contain organic cashew butter, and do not have any artificial preservatives or colors. Like I said, even if I wasn’t “too busy to eat”, I’d be pretty happy munching on these TBTE bars 😛

Kroger had a Friday Freebie deal a few weeks ago for any free Chobani Flip. I had been wanting to try the new Cinnabun Fun flavor ever since I learned about four of the newest flavors being released. Other than the random toss-in of pecans, this flavor met my expectations. I always wish that there is a greater topping-to-yogurt ratio for these yogurts though 😝

Cinnabun Fun Chobani Flip
Cinnabun Fun Chobani Flip

I’d be the last person to confess my love for carrot cake, but I was flipping over this Carrot Cake Creation Chobani Flip!

carrot
Carrot Cake Creation

The yogurt was actually “sweet carrot”-flavored, and had a good amount of cake pieces glazed with cinnamon, walnuts, and white chocolate. Of course, I wouldn’t argue if Chobani decided to add more toppings to balance out the yogurt 😛

Which of these food items would you most like to try?

Peanut Butter & Cookie Dough

Peanut Butter & Cookie Dough

This month has been stressful and extremely busy for me to say the least, and finding outlets of comfort has been quite a challenge! I do feel like I have been able to give myself self-care when absolutely necessary, such as when a 20 min power nap turned into a deep sleep session of 2 hours on Thursday, but working through two rigorous powerpoint presentations non-stop for a month can wipe ANYONE out…

Needless to say, my weekends have been uneventful for the most part, since I’ve been having to devote all the “free” time I have to staying close to lab or home. I’m hoping I can fill my weekends up with more restaurant outings and LA exploratory activities, but right now I am powering through the home stretch!

At least I’ve found a some source of comfort from some new foods as of late.

Hello nut butters!
Hello nut butters!

Reginald’s Homemade was kind enough to send me four flavors of their unique nut butters. Of the four jars, I tried the cashew butter first, atop some Siggi’s yogurt.

cashew butter opened
Siggi’s topped with cinnamon molasses cashew butter!

The cashew butter was flavored with cinnamon and molasses, and you could tell molasses was definitely mixed in due to the thick consistency of the butter.

cinnamonmolasses_cashewbutter
Cinnamon Molasses Cashew Butter

The nana honey peanut butter was just as smooth, but a bit more runny than the molasses flavor. It definitely had a banana scent, but it wasn’t overwhelming in the taste. Honestly I thought this flavor tasted mostly like regular smooth peanut butter, but it was fresh and creamy nonetheless!

cashew butter in yogurt
So smooth!

The wedding pretzel crunch peanut butter said it had “lite crunch” on the jar, but this flavor was ALL crunch. There were tons of salted pretzel sticks thrown in, but I couldn’t not any distinct white chocolate flavor. While I was hoping for a decent mix of chocolate chips mixed up with all those pretzels, I wasn’t too disappointed considering this jar was maxed out when it came to varying textures.

wedding_pretzelcrunchpb__
Lot’s of pretzels here!

My favorite flavor in regards to texture was the bourbon pecan flavor. This jar was literally glowing, and the pecans were ground up just right so that the pieces were just the right size.

bourbonpecan_pb
Bourbon pecan peanut butter

This was one jar I could easily eat by the spoonful, but I also added it to a mug cake with yogurt mixed with amazing grass greens.

greensmoothiepecanbutter_
Topping some mixed yogurt!

I also ordered some more cookie dough from The Lion’s Pack, and had ordered it while I was in Tulsa so it would be waiting for me when I got back to LA earlier this month. I had fun reviewing the flavors on Instagram:

Campfire Cookie – one of my favorites! It had chocolate chunks and graham cracker dusting. It looked sooo pretty, and the good looks matched in good taste!!

When it's not summer but you miss campfire nights 🔥 🍪
When it’s not summer but you miss campfire nights 🔥 🍪

Cereal Bowl Cookie Dough – So, Cereal Bowl Cookie Dough…I found the Cap’n Crunch pieces to be stale-tasting, and overall didn’t help the cookie dough taste any better. The colors were fun though.

Cereal Bowl Cookie Dough
Cereal Bowl Cookie Dough

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Good ol’ chocolate chip. A classic that often is taken for granted. But I have to say that The Lion’s Pack chocolate chip cookie dough is insanely good! The chocolate chips are small and melty, and not overwhelming at all! Sometimes sticking to the basics is good 👍🏽

I gotta say that this might actually be my top fave!!
I gotta say that this might actually be my top fave!!

Snickers Bar Cookie Dough – Too many peanuts, and not enough nougat/caramel with this “Snickers bar” flavor cookie dough.

This flavor was obviously not my favorite!
This flavor was obviously not my favorite!

Monster Cookie Dough – The Monster Cookie dough actually tasted awful. The cookie dough itself was fine, but the “monster” candy pieces tasted somewhat bitter, chalky, and just did not fit. I literally had to pick them out in order to enjoy the rest of the dough.

monster_cookie
Eh, not my fave!

Gingerbread Cookie Dough – It certainly had some spice, and some white frosting strings. It was a pretty good flavor, which I think could have tasted even better with some other holiday-themed add-ins…oooh, gum drops and candy cane pieces perhaps??

ginger
Gingerbread Cookie!

Unfortunately, the packaging wasn’t so well put together with this shipment—one of my jars came cracked at the lid!

crackedjar
Ugh cracked jar…

Ah, January is almost over, and I’m hoping that with it, I’ll have less stress on my plate and more comfort with not just from food, but in life overall!

Which of these peanut butter flavors would you try?

Which of these cookie dough flavors would you try?

Red, White, and Chew

Red, White, and Chew

My sis and I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, with the goal of getting things wrapped up in lab and then heading off to Santa Monica for brunch.

I am honestly so grateful for the Expo line expansion…what would have originally been almost an hour and a half trip to the ever-popular Santa Monica now only takes 30-40 minutes!

chomp_eatery
Chomp Eatery

One of the stops is a convenient seven minute walk to Chomp Eatery and DK’s Donuts. One day when I have cash on hand, I will be back for some of their mouth-watering donuts, but my sis and I headed right next door to Chomp Eatery: a place we knew that takes credit cards and serves up an irresistible novelty.

The Unicorn Melt was something I came across on Instagram. It’s basically a grilled cheese with a rainbow theme, in that the cheese is colored with organic food coloring and melted so that a rainbow oozes out when the slices are pulled apart. Sound appetizing yet?

Since my sis and I decided to split the Unicorn Melt, we each got our own meals as well. I of course got one of the wellness bowls.

gojiberriesbowl
Of course I go straight to the bowls part of the menu…

The bowl I chose to go with was none other than the Goji Berries Banana Bowl, which had a plain greek yogurt base, and heavily topped with granola, cacao nibs, goji berries, banana , and agave syrup.

gojiberries_banana_bowl
Looks like a small bowl but there was tons of yogurt and a mountain of granola!!

My sister got one of the burger with a veggie patty, and it was an overflowing tower of rich, nutrient-packed veggies and creamy add-in like avocado and a fried egg.

burger_and_melt
Burgers + melts

My sister, a self-proclaimed carb-lover thought her burger + melt may have been too much at one time, but she enjoyed her burger. We both agreed that the melt wasn’t outstanding in taste, but as far as presentation and creativity goes…how could it be anything less than 110%? Not to mention, it was a pretty festive and fitting rainbow on the inside.

unicornmelt___
A red, white, and blue cheese melt!!

After devouring our sandwiches and chewing every last goji berry, we walked towards downtown Santa Monica, stopped inside Cotton On, and then boarded the train from the new downtown station in order to get to Union Station on time.

After dropping off my sister later that afternoon, I felt extremely exhausted and could not wait to go to bed—early! Haha. Needless to say, 4th of July was very low key. No fireworks, no veggie dogs…just plenty of lab work in the morning as usual, and then relaxing at home. At least I did sort of celebrate with a patriotic grilled cheese!

Chomp Eatery & Juice Station Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hokey Poke & Donut Dance

Hokey Poke & Donut Dance

Last Saturday, I had two reasons to dance (even though I did not actually do so): 1) I tried a (veggie) poke bowl for the first time and 2) I had a “donut” from another well-established LA donut shop.

Before all that however, I decided to stop by the grocery store on Friday before heading home, and while passing by the dairy aisle, I saw that four flavors of Fage’s Crossovers line were on sale…like, $0.39 each on sale!!

MAJOR CLEARANCE YOGURTSSS!
MAJOR CLEARANCE YOGURTSSS!

I’ve tried the coconut curry flavor before combined with cashews, and I still think its my long-standing favorite.

Coconut Curry + Cashews
Coconut Curry + Cashews

The tomato basil flavor with almonds had a tangy taste, and the almonds had a spicy kick as well.

Tomato Basil + Roasted Almonds
Tomato Basil + Roasted Almonds

When I was eating the olive thyme flavor that had roasted almonds as well, it tasted more like sour cream! An awkward flavor profile indeed, but you have to give Fage credit for trying something bold!

Olive Thyme + Roasted Almonds
Olive Thyme + Roasted Almonds

And then there was the carrot ginger flavor with roasted pistachios. I was a fan of this flavor, and would rank it just behind the coconut curry flavor. I think it helps that both of these yogurts are paired with my favorite nuts (cashews and pistachios)!

Carrot Ginger + Pistachios
Carrot Ginger + Pistachios

I woke up on Saturday with intentions to run in the morning before heading into lab for a bit, but I was feeling more exhausted than I thought I felt when I hit the pillow on Friday night. A little extra rest never hurt anyone, so I ended up skipping the run and reasoned with myself that the additional rest would help me run faster in the 5k race I signed up for on Sunday. 

Since my roommate has been busy studying for her CPA exams, she (and her car 😉 ) have been unavailable in joining me to go grocery shopping. This means making an afternoon out of errands, and making the process easier by getting everything done at the Grove…

Before stopping by the Trader Joe’s in the area, I needed to take care of my grumbling stomach with lunch. I came to the realization that Mainland Poke was just a fifteen minute walk away, and after taking a quick look at their menu to ensure they had a veggie option, I was set on going there for a refreshing, crisp meal.

The hot sun beating down made it a harder stroll than it should have been, but after I found the small building and entered, I felt about 20 degrees cooler when I saw all of the cold greens and veggies lined across the counter.

Mainland Poke
Mainland Poke

I was able to customize my poke bowl right from the beginning. I started off with a kale base, and then added cubed tofu, edamame, cucumber, guacamole, wasabi aioli, lemon oil, and pickled ginger.

My Poke Bowl
My Poke Bowl

There wasn’t much room inside, but I managed to find a seat,and was able to chow down on my bowl with chopsticks in peace. The aioli wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be (you’d think it would be with wasabi in its name), so I was grateful for my scoop of guacamole in providing some flavor.

Not surprisingly, I was craving more carbs and something sweet after this light lunch, and I knew this would be the perfect time to check out fonuts before really getting some grocery shopping done.

This way for fonuts?
This way for fonuts?

fonuts was in an unassuming location, with solid doors and tinted windows. Upon stepping inside, everything was wooden from the floors to the walls. It was also oddly quiet.

Fortunately, there were a few other people in there to keep it from feeling like a horror movie!

It may be a little too silent for my liking...but there are "donuts" here!
It may be a little too silent for my liking…but there are “donuts” here!

The unique thing about these “fake” donuts is that they are baked, and not fried. So actually, they’re more like cake. Which is cool, because there is nothing wrong with cake!

The flavor that stood out to me the most was the Hawaiian. It was coco-nutty on the inside and out. It was soft and chewy, with a coconut cream filling.

The Hawaiian
The Hawaiian

I took it over to the countertop they had set up by the wall, and ate it there. While it may have looked like a donut, it tasted like a creamy sponge cake. To be honest, I’m not sure why donuts get so much hype. I guess it’s because I’m a die-hard ice cream fanatic, so when it comes to baked goods, I’m going to be nothing more than appreciative.

Have you ever had a poke bowl?

Baked goods or ice cream?

(Fōnuts) Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder Review

Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder Review

When it comes to protein powder, I prefer using it as a thickener for yogurts and for making smoothie bowls since I am unfortunately not the owner of a fancy blender or Nutribullet. Of course there are so many other ways to incorporate and utilize protein powder, but I stick with what I know best most of the time 😉

bobs red mill (3)
FREE protein powder, and a shaker bottle 🙂

However, I was nudged to try to find other ways to use protein powder when I was sent a sample kit of Bob’s Red Mill protein powders. Since they came in flavors like chai, vanilla, chocolate, and unsweetened protein fiber, the variety was a reason in itself to experiment.

bobs red mill (2)
Protein Fiber Oat Cake with Hershey’e Kisses

The furthest I went with experimentation was using the unsweetened protein fiber to make a warm, dough-y cake topped with Hershey’s Kisses. All that went into this bowl was one packet (a typical serving size scoop), a packet of maple and brown sugar oatmeal, and some water and almond milk. It didn’t have any flavor on its own (not even the oatmeal helped surprisingly), but with the Hershey’s kisses I was able to get some spreadable chocolate distribution going. Looking back however, I think this fiber could easily have been used to make a microwaveable pizza crust, and even sturdier oven-baked pizza crust.

bobs red mill (1)
Chocolate Protein Powder

For the rest of the powders though…they were destined to be a part of pro-yo creations. I also tried them mixed with just water to see how the flavors held up on their own.

bobs red mill (4)
Chai Protein Powder Packet

Out of chocolate and chai, chai had the best flavor profile, and even smelled like a warm tea blend upon opening the packet.

bobs red mill (5)
Chai Protein Powder

The vanilla flavor was the only flavor I received in a standard size bag, and I literally went through it in about a week!

bobs
Vanilla Protein “Smoothie” Bowl with PB!!!

I was adding it to oatmeal, in addition to yogurts, and even used it to make a smoothie bowl with almond milk, and topped with a very liquid serving of peanut butter (more like peanut juice?). You can even see the chia and flax seeds swimming around!

Do you find protein powder to be a necessary staple or just another product pushed by the fitness industry?

 

 

Freekeh Foods Review

Freekeh Foods Review

Disclaimer: This post is a review about products received from Freekeh Foods and sponsored by FitApproach. All opinions are my own.

I learned about the existence of freekeh very recently…actually while perusing some food blogs a couple months ago. This supposedly trendy new grain has actually been around for centuries, and is a Middle Eastern cooking staple.

Freekeh is basically roasted young green wheat, and can be used as an ingredient in dishes ranging from savory to sweet, which I tried to do when I had the opportunity to try freekeh for myself!

I received two packages (one original and one tamari-flavored) to try out, and had a fun time experimenting with this interesting grain.

packets
Packages of freekeh to try!

When I opened the tamari packet, my nose was hit by the fresh scent of spices. Compared to the original, the appearance of the grain is the same, except the tamari has a light powder coating (which obviously makes sense…)

tamari
Hit by the aroma of tamari!

For the tamari packet, I immediately knew how I was going to use it—as an add-in to my usual crockpot dinners! One night, I had it mixed in with green cabbage and onion, and later in the week, I had the same combination but with the addition of beets. Adding this flavor of freekeh definitely added a POP to my otherwise humble dinners. When I had it in the crockpot bowl with beets, the freekeh tended to clump around the beet pieces for some reason, and it gave me the idea of potentially using it as a breading substitute if need be.

tamari_cp
Crockpot close-up
beets_tamari
In full view.

I also used it as an ingredient in an egg scramble. Mixed in with two eggs and garlic cheddar cheese, this tamari-flavored freekeh egg scramble gave me an extra energy boost to power me through an afternoon experiment in lab.

tamari_scramble (1)
Scramble wet ingredients

Freekeh Egg Scramble
Serves 1
A simple scramble with a dense body and nutritious flavor profile!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  2. 1/2 cup of freekeh
  3. 28g serving of cheese
  4. non-stick spray
Instructions
  1. Mix the eggs (yolk+whites) with cheese (cut up or crumbles) in a separate bowl.
  2. Mix in freekeh, and mix well.
  3. Heat a pan on the stove, and spray with non-stick spray.
  4. Add wet mixture to pan and cook for ~2 minutes (time may vary based on stove settings, pan, etc.)
  5. Turn off stove, let scramble cool, and eat!
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/
Seeing that the original flavor was all grain and had no added flavor, I knew that it could be a very versatile kitchen staple to have around. Because I had gone the savory route with my tamari freekeh packet, I decided to see how the original flavor would fare in a sweeter dish.

Lately I have been concluding my weeknight dinners with some sort of yogurt-based protein bowl (in other words, proyo bowls) that I often top with a nut butter I have on hand and possible other fun toppings as well. With the original freekeh packet I had, I cooked a serving (~1/4 cup dry) in the microwave with some water for about two minutes. It developed a fluffier texture, and from there, I added some yogurt I had already mixed with protein powder. It was like a ready-made bowl of overnight oats, and I even added a dollop of salted caramel peanut butter on top.

original_after (1)
Making things sweet.

Freekeh is quite versatile, and I see uses for it beyond my crockpot dinners and sweet grain bowls. Why not try winning a package to try for yourself*? ;))

*US Residents only please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Busy Busy!

Busy Busy!

Last week was one of my busiest, but I’ve always been a person who prefers productivity…even if it means having to work harder for my free time. However, one of the things I don’t like about being busy over several consecutive days is having to force myself to sleep early enough so that I am able to do all the things I need and want to do in a functional manner 😛

Since the lab work I’ve been doing as of late has been quite time-consuming, I have been coming home anywhere from 5-7pm during the week, and usually making sure I get to bed sometime between 9-10pm. I’ve tried to utilize the time in between getting home and going to bed for “productive” things as well, but honestly, all I want to do is have dinner, lounge on the couch, and watch mindless TV. There is nothing wrong with that though…a hard day”s work should be rewarded with a few hours rest at the end of the day in my opinion! 🙂

To keep things short & sweet, here are some highlights from my busy last week

MoNdAy

[X] Woke up ~6am to prep dinner, head to the gym for an upper-body workout, and then back at the apartment to make it into lab by 9am. Dad spent the weekend before visiting me and staying at my apartment, so he was able to make us some coffee before I was out the door 🙂

[X] I was in lab until ~5:30PM. When I felt like I could no longer comprehend the data I was analyzing, I decided it was time to go home and rest my weary brain.

[X] After a crockpot dinner, I had two new-to-me cold treats!

artic_Zero_butter_peacn

Another one of Artic Zero’s chunky pints to check off the list (Butter Pecan!) It pretty much was their Vanilla Maple “ice cream” as the base with candied pieces of pecans thrown in for good measure. The pint was a delicious treat to eat while watching The Good Wife though!

chobani_clover_honey

This Chobani Flip reminded me of Fage’s honey flip cup, which has been my favorite since day 1. The Chobani version isn’t too bad, but the yogurt is thinner when compared to Fage’s, that’s for sure!

TuEsDaY

[X] Another long morning in lab…but I was still able to squeeze in a 6 mile run and a lower-body workout with squats thrown in!

[X] And meet up with my Dad again one last time before his business trip was over. We had dinner at Vegi Wokery—a vegan-Asian fusion place we visited some time ago…

SAMSUNG

And it looked exactly the same from the inside as it did three-four years ago!

vw_interior

To start off, we (more like just me 😛 ) had kimchi, and my Dad went ahead and ordered his favorite lettuce wraps.

SAMSUNG
Kimchi!
SAMSUNG
Filling for lettuce wraps!!

 For our main courses, we got the Vege Chicken Curry, which was the special of the day according to the sweet lady owner, and the Kung Pao Vegi Chicken.

kungpaovegichicken

vegechickencurry

Both dishes were nothing but flavorful, warm, and perfectly-portioned for a weeknight meal shared between two people.

 Close-up of what both dishes looked like.
Close-up of what both dishes looked like.

[X] Spent the rest of the evening in Artesia hopping to and from different Indian grocery stores, where I found this:

cadbury_dairymilk_oreo

It immediately became a go-to add-in for my my yogurt bowl dessert creations for the remainder of the week, and I also managed to save enough to eat before morning long runs as well. As a whole, it reminded me of a Hershey’s Cookies & Cream bar, except more emphasis on the milk versus white chocolate, obviously 😛

wEdNeSdAy

[X] More of the same, except I had to get to lab an hour earlier due to the status of the experiment!

[X] Felt exhausted earlier in the day!

[X] Winding down with an evening routine that included  a Wink Dessert Pint topped with yogurt mixed with coconut flour and chocolate…

 Talk about YUM...
Talk about YUM…

ThUrSdAy

[X] I think I’m working my tail off, but after I’m done with my morning experiment, I come back to lab and see that everyone is scrambling to get some serious work done. Grant deadlines will do that to people…and even though no input is required from me as of right now, I’m thinking that will change very, very soon 😛 

[X] Meeting with my boss in the midst of all this “chaos”. The meeting did go well though, and despite always having that “overwhelmed” feeling after these kinds of meetings, this one was more narrow in topic, and focused on the immediate steps I need to take to get going on project #2. Exciting stuff…

[X] Leaving lab later than usual –> eating and just going to bed cause I just can’t stay up past 10pm. 

FriDAy

[X] Running against the backdrop of gray, cloudy skies and looming rains…one of the best morning runs of the week, for sure.

[X] Seeing so many people on campus due to graduation. Still can’t believe another academic year has gone by…

[X]  Everyone in lab is still scrambling by the time I come back after finishing up my experiment for the day. When other people are so hard at work around you, you can’t help but want to keep working yourself. So despite feeling hungry/sleepy, I stay a little longer to get some data analysis done. This definitely makes time go by fast, but I don’t 

saTUrDay

[X] Waking up naturally (without an alarm clock 😛 ) around 6AM, and then getting ready to head out to lab.

[X] Finishing in the early afternoon, and then hanging out on campus until it was party time!

[X] Party? What party? Yes—my first-year PhD program director hosted a get-together at her house, and it was one of those sit back-and-chat get-togethers so there was no pressure. It was real nice.

She prepared dinner for us—pretty much from scratch—and the feast consisted of snacks like hummus, baby carrots, and blue corn tortilla chips, two kinds of salads, an assortment of pizzas, sauteed kale, and blueberry pie…

dinner

I was at the get-together with a couple of students from my cohort, and it was just one of those social moments I’m glad I didn’t make an excuse to get out of. Lots of memories from the past year was shared, and we were all so excited to finally be DONE with lab rotations. We had “homes” now, and this night was a celebration of that 🙂

SundAY

[X] A 12 mile run before heading into lab.

[X] Able to finish by 2, and used the afternoon to go by a potential rental in Culver City.

[X] Unfortunately someone put in a deposit over the weekend (and the lady never told me in time, let alone told me at all…), so my initial reason for going was a waste. Instead, I ended up walking into a late lunch at Green Peas.

SAMSUNG

I was so hungry at this point, and so I was glad that I made it in time before they closed at 4pm!!

fancy on the inside

There were quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, coffees, smoothies, and cakes to choose from, but I ended up going with a Chicken Curry Sandwich that they made vegan. As my bread choice, I chose the sweet pretzel roll because pretzels are just plain awesome 🙂

chicken curry sandwich vegan

On the side, I got a salad that was dressed in balsamic. The cashier almost made mine a to-go order since I ordered 15 minutes before their official closing time, but she allowed me to dine in since she knew my sandwich would be ready before closing. I appreciated that of her since I did not want to go out walking in search of a park bench with a stomach that was ready to gnaw itself from the inside out :/

inside sandwich

The sandwich itself certainly hit the spot. It was slightly heavy on the sauce, but the bread did its job in soaking that in. The creamy sauce was flavored with mustard, cinnamon, raisins, and nuts, so it was an earthy + spicy mix of all sorts of fun ingredients…and it literally took me eight minutes to finish, haha.

[X] Before heading home, I made a quick stop at Culver City Center to stop by the Ralph’s and pick up some produce essentials, as well as my B&J weekend pint:

pbcorefudge

My heart was originally set on finding the Peanut Buttah Cookie Core, but this Ralph’s didn’t have it unfortunately. Oh well, we will eventually unite…

But the Peanut Butter Fudge Core did not disappoint.I found a place to sit at a nearby coffee shop, and dug in with a plastic spoon that I got from the hot bar section of Ralph’s.

I was a fan of the PB ice cream, and noticed that most of the PB mini cups were found at the bottom. I wasn’t too excited about the chocolate ice cream, but the peanut butter fudge core made up for what the chocolate couldn’t meet up to.

yeah!

Funny how I consider this a recap…it took me at least two hours to put together this post! But as you can see, this week was a productive one, and one that was not devoid of the “fun stuff” either. And even though the pressure is starting to amp up with certain things in my life (lab, finding a place to live for the next year…), I’m all about taking things day-by-day, week-by-week, and making the best of all 24 hours 😉

Vegi Wokery on Urbanspoon Green Peas on Urbanspoon

Week of Eats / B’ Jammin Bars Review

Week of Eats / B’ Jammin Bars Review

What a busy and productive week last week was! I was also in a picture-taking mood, and managed to capture some (more like four…) pics of my eats as a result (which I also happened to post on Instagram 😉

It was mainly a week of proyo and cookie butter (and I expect it to be similar this week as well, looking at my groceries! 😛 )—nothing significantly different from my usual eats, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with sticking with what’s tried & true, especially if you can still mix up the “same ol’, same ol’ “ with some different add-ins!

Like Monday’s morning proyo—a mix that included pineapple Chobani, vanilla protein powder, an airline pretzel pack, an airline peanuts pack, and a Biscoff dollop.

Vanilla Pineapple Proyo with Biscoff, Pretzels, & Peanuts
Vanilla Pineapple Proyo with Biscoff, Pretzels, & Peanuts

Tuesday’s proyo mix was eaten a few hours before bedtime. Key lime chobani + soy vanilla protein powder + pistachios + Biscoff spread put me to sleep right away 🙂

Vanilla Key Lime Proyo with Biscoff & Pistachios
Vanilla Key Lime Proyo with Biscoff & Pistachios

My final proyo mix for the week was mixed into an almost-empty Biscoff cookie butter jar (yes, I annihilated this jar within a week!!), and made for the perfect dessert following a simple crockpot meal.

dinner

Wednesday morning was a rushed one. Since it’s one of my busier days of the week due to classes, I try to get my workouts done in the morning. This Wednesday was a success in that sense, and I was able to snack on these Quest bars lathered with Biscoff spread on the shuttle to class.

S'mores Bars with Biscoff
Quest S’mores Bars with Biscoff

On Saturday morning, I did a repeat of Wednesday but because I ran out of Biscoff spread, I had no choice but to lather on some chocolate hazelnut spread. But that sounds like I’m complaining…and that would be completely false 😉 !

 Quest Bars (S'mores and Cookies & Cream) lathered with chocolate hazelnut spread!
Quest Bars (S’mores and Cookies & Cream) lathered with chocolate hazelnut spread!

Speaking of bars, I’ve been meaning to write up a review of B-UP‘s latest product—B-Jammin’ bars—since I ordered the three featured flavors a while back. I just couldn’t find an appropriate time to finish writing up the post and publish the post, until I figured a conglomerate post would just have to do 😉

Anyways, my order came with six total bars, two of each B-Jammin’ flavor available. I also received a few freebies (a wristband like before, a sticker/decal, and a bonus B-UP Peanut Butter bar original). 

bjammin_barset
Two of each flavor for 6 total B-Jammin bars, plus a decal, bracelet/band, and a bonus B-UP bar 🙂

These bars still have quite a bit of protein (~12 grams), and range from 150-180 calories. They also deliver a good source of carbs via the fruit fillings. And with fruit comes fiber, of which each bar has 11-13 grams of! 

I first tried Apple Pie Ala Mode, and found the wrapper hard to peel off because the outer layer of the bar was incredibly sticky. The apple filling wasn’t just apple, but included other “P” fruits like pineapples, peaches, and pears (<– alliteration galore 😉 ). The filling also had a hint of spiciness due to the addition of cinnamon. 

bjammin_applepiealamode
Apple Pie Ala Mode

PB&J was the second flavor I tried, and while I was a fan of the filling, I found the peanut flavor of the outer layer to be slightly  overwhelming. I will say that this bar did taste like a PB&J sandwich though—one that is chewier and less breaded of course 😉 

bjammin_pb&j
PB&J

My absolute favorite was Vanilla Cherry Pie. The wrapper was easier to peel off with this one as well, and I was able to enjoy the bar in its entirety without having to scrape any ‘bar residue‘ from the wrapper. 

bjammin_vanillacherrypie
Vanilla Cherry Pie

 I think this bar turned out to be my favorite due to the addition of actual cherries (along with all of the fruits used in the Apple Pie Ala Mode flavor). I also appreciate how the enhanced red color for the filling was brought out more through red cabbage extract and red beet juice concentrate, both being natural food coloring sources when compared to some artificial (and most likely cheaper) sources out there…

What has been you go-to meal/snack lately?

Have you tried B-Jammin’ bars yet?

Yulu Aussie Style Yogurt Review

Yulu Aussie Style Yogurt Review

In one of my most recent yogurt hauls from a discount grocery store near and dear to my heart, I brought back four new flavors of yogurt with me to SoCal. These yogurts were consumed last month (along with several other cups of discount Chobanis), but since I was able to get a hold of 4 out of 5 flavors all for a total of $2, I wanted to feature them on my blog!

These Yulu yogurts are Aussie-style—so basically smooth, creamy, and are distinguishable by their liquid-like consistency.

SAMSUNG

Each cup packs in 9-10 grams of protein, and there are five flavors available right now. As I said, I was only able to find four at my beloved Grocery Outlet, but the flavors I did try did not disappoint. I don’t think strawberry will disappoint when I do get to try it someday…

SAMSUNG
The vanilla flavor has 10 grams of protein.

I first peeled the foil cover off the honey-flavor cup.

Yulu__Honey

It had a light, airy texture, and would be seen as being “runnier” if matched with its greek yogurt counterpart. I had this cup on its own, but it totally could have mixed well with some protein powder. It may very well have made a fabulous bowl of proyo!

Vanilla bean was comparable to the honey flavor, except for the fact you could actually see the little specks of vanilla bean!

Yulu__Vanilla

If the cups were placed side-by-side, the raspberry and blueberry flavors would be indistinguishable just based on appearance. Of course, the smell of each and taste would give the identities of each flavor away. I ate the raspberry cup of yogurt by itself, and found it to be alright.

 This is raspberry, in case ya didn't know...
This is raspberry, in case ya didn’t know…

But blueberry on the other hand…I mixed it with some strawberry protein powder, added a dollop of almond butter, and I had an mmmmazing bowl of proyo one Saturday morning.

yulu_blueberry

If I want to try the fifth flavor of Yulu yogurts (which is strawberry), based on their store locator, I would have to find a way to get down to the closest Stater Bros….which happens to be about an 1 1/2 away by public transit for me. Hmm…I guess I can wait. Good things come to those who do, right?

Have you tried Yulu yogurt?

Good Food, Bad Food: A Mini Review

Good Food, Bad Food: A Mini Review

Haven’t had a food-related post in a while, so I thought I’d do a mini-review on some good (and surprisingly not so good…) bars and yogurts I had this week.

Chobani Flip – Nutty for Nana

I was more than eager to try (and stock up) on these yogurts since they were on sale at Grocery Outlet for $0.79 each! I left with three since I already had a stockpile of yogurts at home and didn’t want to reach the hoard-er line. (Haha, get it?) 😉

Awesome toppings, but bland yogurt.
Awesome toppings, but bland yogurt.

Anyways, the topping in this yogurt included dark chocolate chunks and honey roasted salted almonds, and while I can’t complain about this, the yogurt tasted nothing like the regular Banana Chobani cups. I wouldn’t enjoy eating the yogurt on its own, but since thankfully it came with great-tasting toppings, all ended well :).

Greens Plus – Chocolate Energy Bar

I oftentimes visit Trader Joe’s in the early morning or little after noon, but it is seriously a mad house between the times of 3-5pm (at least the ones near me). Apparently, I found out my favorite bar, which I often purchase from TJ’s, is pretty popular. It’s cousin, the Greens Plus – Chocolate Energy Bar was overstocked, so I settled for it that day.

Good, even great...but not my go-to.
Good, even great…but not my go-to.

While it still has the smooth chocolate coating as its counterpart, the filling felt lighter and had some crisp to it. I prefer the protein version of Greens Plus bars because the filling feels more substantial to me (and well, they taste much better in my opinion).

Perfect Food Bar Carob Chip

It is a rare occasion that I find so many faults with a bar, but as of right now, the Perfect Food Bar brand leaves an awful taste in my mouth. How can a bar that’s touted to be wholesome and full of natural ingredients cause me to gag? I can’t judge all of the flavors in this line right now, but if they are all like the Carob Chip flavor, I’ll be passing them up.

Eww @ this bar...
Eww @ this bar…

Maybe I shouldn’t have read the ingredients before chomping in. I think after I read “tomato” and “dried whole egg” powder, my appetite sunk. I spent a few seconds eyeing my oddly orange colored bar, and all I could think of was tomato/vegetable/eww (okay, so a tomato is technically a fruit, but why, oh why, mix it with carob?!).

I managed to finish the bar because a) it was pretty pricey and b) I hate wasting food, but not even two pieces of Orbit gum could get rid of the gross aftertaste. Do yourself a favor when it comes to this bar and stay. away.

Siggi’s Blueberry Yogurt

Since I had the excuse-of-a-bar mentioned previously for breakfast, and because I had an aftertaste in my mouth that desperately needed to be erased, I tried a new-to-me flavor of Siggi’s…blueberry.

Siggi's, I know you can do better!
Siggi’s, I know you can do better!

I thought it would taste just as pleasant as this flavor I had a while back, but it turned out to be subpar and disappointing. The blueberry flavor was somewhat bland, and the texture wasn’t nearly as thick as the acai and mixed berries flavor.

But since I know Siggi’s can do better, I won’t count this outlier against them ;).

Have you had any foods that did not meet up to you expectations recently?

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