Archive for September, 2013

black-raspberry-flavored-sparkling-water-beverage

Product Information:

rich. refreshing.  naturally flavored with just a hint of tartness. taste the burst of billions of bubbles in our sparkling black raspberry flavored fruitwater®. it’s a little tart, a little sweet. all delicious. just like you.

I received a bottle of fruitwater in my July Goodies Box.

What I Think:

So, the first thing that I check out when I get a drink like this in one of my tasting boxes is the label.  Does it contain Aspartame?  No, this product doesn’t, it contains Sucralose … which is still an artificial sweetener but, it isn’t as dangerous to me personally as Aspartame is.  I’m quite allergic to Aspartame, when I consume it, I am pretty much OUT for the day.  I start feeling sick, like I’m going to vomit, and I feel dizzy – well, dizzier than usual! – and I need to lay down.  I’m just NOT good after I consume Aspartame.

But, Sucralose doesn’t affect me that way, so I felt safe cracking open this bottle of fruitwater.  Unfortunately … it still tastes very artificially sweetened.  Icky!

Once my palate can get past that yucky artificial taste, I can taste the berry flavor.  This … on it’s own, beyond the artificial sweetened taste is alright … I think this would actually be something I could drink if it had been sweetened with something like cane sugar or even agave nectar.  As it is, though, I can’t drink much of this, because my palate is just telling me NO!  I suppose I’ll give the rest of this to my husband … he’ll probably love it.

My Final Thoughts:

Didn’t like it enough to even drink half a bottle of it.  The berry flavor would be nice if it was sweetened with something not artificial.  For those who don’t mind that “diet-y” chemical-y taste and aftertaste, I can see the appeal of a drink like this, but me … I’ll stick with my tea, thanks!

smorecookie

Photo from Knoshbox
Click on the pic to go there

Product Description:

These all-in-one s’more cookies are hand made by S’more Bakery of New York City. Semisweet chocolate chunks, handmade vanilla bean marshmallows and rolled oats come together to create a delicious thin and crispy cookie.

Made with unbleached all purpose flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, eggs, old fashioned oats, unsalted butter, pure vanilla extract. Due to the delicate nature of these crispy cookies, some breakage may occur during shipping.

I received this S’more Cookie in my July Knoshbox!

Tea Suggestion:

When I grabbed this S’more Cookie, I was already sipping on a Chai Latte!  I made a rich, delicious Chai with this Strong Brew Chai concentrate from Chico Chai!  I am sure I could have found a more suitable pairing in my cupboard, but I love this chai, and the cookie was delicious with it. YUM!

What I Think:

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My cookies out of the package …
broken and crumbly … but still yummy!

I was a bit disappointed when I opened my July Knoshbox and found this cookie broken into bits with quite a few tiny crumbs at the bottom of the package.  I know that the cookie tastes the same whether it’s broken or whole … but let’s face it, if presented with a platter of cookies, most of the time you’re likely to choose a whole cookie rather than a broken one, am I right?  Whole cookies are more fun to eat.  That’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

Before reading the above product description and before opening the package, I expected that this would be a thick, soft cookie, but it isn’t.  This is a thin, sort of crispy cookie.  I say “sort of” because even though it’s been baked to be crisp, the chewy marshmallow-y aspect of the S’more cookie gives it a compelling chewy texture.  The so it is crisp when you bite into it, and then it becomes chewy as you chew.

These are actually quite tasty.  They are chocolate-y and I can taste the oats, and I like the cocoa and oats combination.  On the rare occasion that I bake oatmeal cookies, I usually prefer chocolate chips to raisins, so the chocolate and oats combination is a welcome pairing.  The marshmallow is not so much “tasted” as it is experienced in the cookie.  The aforementioned chewiness gives this treat a very intriguing texture.  There is also a LOT of butter in this cookie.  Not complaining about that … I like a buttery cookie.

My Final Thoughts:

This is not so much a s’more taste to me as it is a chocolate and oat cookie, so therefore I feel like these cookies suffer from a bit of a misnomer.  People who might buy this thinking they’re going to be eating a s’more are in for a bit of a surprise.  I expected more of a s’more-like taste but it is still really delicious and something that I’d be happy to eat again.

I love tomatoes.  I call them my favorite “fruit” … not so much because they are technically a fruit but because my favorite vegetable is carrots, and I would have a difficult time choosing between the two if they were both deemed vegetables.

???????????????????????????????This summer, my big Costco discovery was these Symphony tomatoes (I’ve also seen a smaller “symphony” package in Chuck’s Produce, which suggests to me that you might be able to find them elsewhere as well.)  They are an eye catching array of colorful cherry sized tomatoes – with colors such as chocolate brown, white (which looks like a “greenish” white), green, orange, and the familiar red.  Most of the tomatoes are roundish in shape, but some are “Roma” tomato shape.

To make my tomato salad, I start with a colander full of these tomatoes with all the blossoms removed and the tomatoes washed thoroughly.  Then I cut them.  Most of the round tomatoes I cut in half, but some of the larger round tomatoes I cut into fourths … basically, I cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces.

???????????????????????????????Then I season with Kosher salt and ground pepper.  If I happen to have it on hand, I will substitute the Kosher salt with a gourmet salt from Woody’s Gourmet.  (My personal favorite is the Black Truffle & Fresh Thyme Sea Salt)

Then I reach for my bottle of Smoky Bacon flavored Grapeseed Oil from Wildtree.  This is the MAGIC product in this salad, because it adds such a delightful flavor.  The bacon flavor is not an overpowering flavor, and I might like this even better if the bacon flavor was more pronounced (Bacon is a lot like chocolate in that more bacon = better.)  The bacon is best tasted when you taste the oil on it’s own, but, I still taste the bacon flavor when I make this tomato salad, and  love the way the smoky bacon and tomato flavors meld.

Note:  If you really want to focus on the bacon flavors, I suggest seasoning with plain Kosher salt rather than the gourmet stuff, as the extra seasoning in the gourmet sea salts tend to distract my palate.

grapeseedoil

Photo from Wildtree
Click on the pic to go there.

I have fallen in love with Grapeseed Oil because I love the taste.  I used to be very devoted to olive oil, but, I like grapeseed oil even better, and I love the Wildtree brand (and not just because one of my dear friends sells the stuff!)   The taste of the grapeseed oil is not as heavy as the olive oil, and I find this especially desirable on a salad like my tomato salad where I want to taste the tomato.

I drizzle the grapeseed oil over the seasoned tomatoes, and then I follow that with a drizzle of vinegar.  I tried this salad first using this Champagne Mimosa Vinegar from Chapparal Gardens – LOVED it – but now I use balsamic vinegar and that is good too.  The Champagne vinegar is better … but it is also kind of pricey, Then again, so is a good balsamic vinegar, but since I always have balsamic vinegar on hand … well, you get the idea, right?

After I’ve seasoned and dressed the tomatoes, I toss the tomatoes well in the mixture to make sure that all the tomatoes get some vinegar and oil and seasoning on them.  And then I eat it.  YUM!

???????????????????????????????Yeah, I told you it’s easy.  So, if it’s a little too easy for you and my recipe is leaving you asking why I bothered to write this post … let me add this:  Tomatoes are very good for you!  They are an excellent source of antioxidants and help lower cholesterol.  They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, A, K and potassium.  And they’re practically calorie free!  Now, the dressing on this salad isn’t calorie or fat free, of course, but, I suggest go sparingly with the vinegar and oil anyway and let the tomatoes be the star of the show.

You can find more yummy grapeseed oil recipes on my friend Jennifer’s blog!

???????????????????????????????Product Information:

Crunchy wagon wheel pasta flavored with cheddar cheese and a hint of jalapeño heat. These unique pasta chips combine the look and taste of pasta with the delightful crunch of a chip. With 50% less fat than regular potato chips, it’s okay to indulge.

I received a bag of these pasta chips in my June Goodies Box!

Tea Suggestion:

With these zesty chips, I wanted something that I could guzzle when I needed to help quench the jalapeño heat that builds on the palate, so I turned to iced tea.  The iced tea that I had chilling in the fridge when I opened this pouch of chips was this Lime Cola Flavored Black Tea from 52Teas.  YUM!  I really like the way the tangy flavor of the lime contrasts with the warm spice of the jalapeño.

What I Think:

I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this package … pasta chips?  Weird!  And they are indeed weird!  These are the most unusual “chips” I’ve encountered in some time.

The size and shape is reminiscent of “Honeycombs” cereal.  The texture is crunchy, I was almost expecting them to have the texture of uncooked pasta, although I’m not entirely sure why.  They have a texture that resembles a dense corn chip, but without the grain-y mouthfeel.  Very different, but not at all unpleasant.  On the contrary, I’m actually enjoying these quite a bit.

The chip itself is very “different.”  It doesn’t taste potato-y or corn-y or like any other type of chip that I’ve ever tasted.  I like that these don’t taste or feel greasy like a potato chip usually does, I like that these have a good, crisp texture, and a really hearty taste that is quite satisfying.

There is a good balance of cheddar and Jalapeño pepper flavor.  These aren’t super hot as I thought they might be given the fact that they’re called “Cheddar Jalapeño” … this is more like a nacho cheese sauce kind of heat … you know the kind of cheese sauce that has some diced jalapeño peppers already in it?  It’s a lively amount of heat, but not so much that I have to extinguish a fire on my tongue after each chip.  The warmth builds gradually in a very agreeable way.

My Final Thoughts: 

I would definitely buy these pasta chips again.  I really liked them.  I visited the Pastitas website and found that they have six different flavors and I’m definitely intrigued!  I’d love to try them all!

???????????????????????????????Product Information:

You know the crunchy half-popped kernels at the bottom of each popcorn batch? The ones with crisp, concentrated corn flavor and a healthy dose of butter and sea salt? Yeah, here’s a whole bag of those perfect, delicious morsels. You’re welcome.

I received a small bag of Poplets in my August Goodies Box.

Tea Suggestion:

I chose iced tea to drink with these salty Poplets, and I had a frosty pitcher of Root Beer Float Black Tea from 52Teas in the fridge, so I poured a big glass.  The tea was much better than the Poplets, I’m afraid.  (In fact, I absolutely love this tea iced!)

What I Think:

Once upon a time, I received a package of Half Pops in one of my foodie tasting boxes.  I loved the Half Pops, because I love it when I pop a bowl of popcorn and I find those yummy half popped kernels of popcorn at the bottom of the bowl.  They’re crunchy and delicious.

When I received this package of Poplets, I thought that my experience would be similar to what I experienced with my package of Half Pops.

Not!

These … well, a sizable portion of my package wasn’t even “half popped.”  There were quite a few kernels that were completely UNpopped.  The ones that were at least partially popped … tasted stale.  They tasted like they came out of a bowl of popcorn that had been popped three days ago and left out on the counter, uncovered.

Very disappointing.

My Final Thoughts:

I didn’t even finish the tiny bag of these Poplets.  I was really disappointed by the stale taste of these.  At least the Half Pops … had a very memorable and fresh taste to them.  These Poplets taste like some popcorn company trying to pawn off their waste on me.  No thank you.

saltwatertaffy

Photo from Knoshbox.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Information:

The Salty Road brings you delicious handcrafted saltwater taffy from Brooklyn, New York. Bergamot is the classic Earl Grey tea flavor. A chewy, floral, citrus treat with a signature sea salt crunch.

I received a box of these taffies in my August Knoshbox!

Tea Suggestion:

I considered the obvious choice – an Earl Grey tea – but, then I decided that since there is already plenty of bergamot flavor in these yummy confections, I didn’t need to amplify that.  Instead, I decided to complement it with a pure black tea, so I went with this Nuwara Eliya BOP Ceylon Tea from Upton Tea Imports.  I love how the natural fruit-y notes of the tea meld so beautifully with the chewy candy.  A really delicious tea time!

What I Think:

Being a tea enthusiast (actually, I think I’m probably more of an obsessed fanatic when it comes to tea!), and as Earl Grey Tea is one of my very favorite teas out there … I have been wanting to try these Bergamot flavored salt water taffies from Salty Road for a long time … ever since I first tried the Salty Peanut Taffy!  So I was very excited when there was a whole box of these taffies in my Knoshbox for August!

These are SO yum!  I contemplated reviewing them on the SororiTea Sisters tea review blog, but since these are flavored only with the bergamot essence and not with the tea … I decided against that.  But these are such a delicious way to experience bergamot!

The taffies are very chewy, and I also notice a delicate crunch as I chew on them … the crunch is from the sea salt that is in each and every taffy!  I love the salt in these … it brings the bergamot flavors out in a very unique way.  The bergamot is tart and tangy, but not to the point of puckering. A hint of a floral note that adds to the interest of these unusual but delicious candies. There is a “juiciness” to the flavor too, the candies are bursting with citrus-y flavor.

My Final Thoughts:  

I absolutely LOVE these bergamot taffies.  I might even like them better than the salty peanut flavored taffies!  My only complaint?  The box of taffies becomes empty way too fast! ha! I really MUST order more of these … as well as some of the other flavors that Salty Road offers!

???????????????????????????????Ingredients: 

Potato flour, expeller pressed safflower oil, rice flour, tomato flour, spinach powder, salt, beet powder.

I received a bag of these Veggie Sticks in my August Goodies Box!

Tea Suggestion:

I wanted iced tea with these salty snacks, so I chose my new favorite iced tea:  Pink Lemonade flavored Black Iced Tea from 52Teas!  YUM!  The sweet and tart drink went very nicely with the salt in these crunchy sticks.  Psst … click here to learn about Zoomdweebies (aka 52Teas) campaign to re-open their tea bar in Wichita, Kansas!

What I Think:

My first observation:  there a lot more potato sticks in here than tomato, or spinach or beet sticks.  They resemble an uncooked french fry from McDonalds.  (That is to say that the color is not golden brown like a french fry!)  When I bite into them, the texture reminds me a bit of my favorite onion ring snack “chip”:  Funyuns!

They don’t taste like Funyuns, though.  The potato sticks … taste like potato chips, but without the greasy feel that often comes with potato chips.  These still are slightly “greasy” but not quite as greasy as the chips would be.  I noticed some “grease spots” on the paper that I put out to catch these sticks … for my “grease test.”  As I continue to eat, I notice more of the greasy taste though.

There is very little taste variation when it comes to the greener “spinach” sticks and the reddish “tomato/beet” sticks.  The flavor is very mild here, and is most noticeable in the aftertaste.  If I eat a couple of spinach sticks together, I notice more spinach-y taste, and the same is true of the tomato sticks … and the flavor for the reddish sticks is definitely tomato (not beet), making these my favorite part of this bag of snacks.  Unfortunately, of the three color sticks … there were fewest of the red sticks.

My Final Thoughts: 

They’re tasty enough.  I didn’t really like the developing greasy taste though, especially since I would most likely purchase something called “Veggie Sticks” as a healthier alternative to chips, and if these are still greasy … that doesn’t feel “healthier” to me, you know?  Also … my favorite of the three flavors represented here was the tomato, and it was under-represented in comparison to the other two flavors.  So, I don’t think I’d buy these in the store, unless I was given an option to choose just the tomato sticks.

???????????????????????????????Product Information:

This gluten-free rice cracker is packed with tasty toasted seeds: sesame, quinoa, flax and amaranth, resulting in a crunchy cracker with excellent texture and nutty flavor. Enjoy them solo or with your dip, spread or cheese of choice.

I received a bag of these crackers in my July Goodie Box.

Tea Suggestion:

I thought that these would make a decent alternative to a sweeter tea time treat.  I ate these crackers with a cup of Razzleberry Flavored Genmaicha Tea from 52Teas, The natural nutty tones of the tea worked nicely with the nutty quality of the crackers, and the sweet-tart berry notes brought in a nice, treat-y element without going too sweet.  The tea was much tastier than the crackers, though.

What I Think:

These are very crunchy … almost to the point of being a bit more dense than I would like them to be.  I prefer a thinner, crispy cracker as opposed to a thick, crunchy one.

I can taste the seeds, and they give the crackers a very enjoyable texture and nutty taste.  But … they taste … healthy.  Let’s face it … we all probably would prefer to be eating healthier and making more sensible choices when we’re snacking, but, when we are snacking, we don’t like to be reminded by the food we’re eating that we’re not indulging.

These don’t feel indulgent.  They aren’t “delicious” … they’re edible, certainly, and I didn’t hate that I was eating them, if that makes sense.  But they didn’t excite me all that much either.  I wasn’t thinking to myself:  “oh yeah, I gotta go get me some of these.”

My Final Thoughts:

I liked these crackers alright, but, as far as gluten-free, multi-seed type crackers, I preferred the Mary’s Gone Crackers snack crackers that I reviewed recently.  These just … aren’t as tasty.  They’re alright, but, not anything I’d rush out to buy again.

???????????????????????????????Product Description:

These Blueberry Almond granola bars are a delicious as a breakfast bar with a cup of coffee or enjoyed as a snack throughout the day. Made with organic oats, agave nectar, dried wild blueberries, almonds, flax seeds and a touch of sea salt.

I received an Awesome Bar in my March Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

With a granola bar like this … I wanted something equally as wholesome and nourishing, so I went with this Green Tea Powder from Nuvola Tea!  I don’t know that the flavors here necessarily were “complementary” but I still enjoyed the combination … it was a very energizing tea time!

What I Think:

This is – indeed – pretty darned awesome!

The texture – it’s not sticky the way some soft granola bars can be.  I get every ingredient … I taste every ingredient.  The oats have almost a nutty, toasted quality to them.  I taste almond, I taste blueberry, I taste the thin chocolate coating on the bottom of the bar.  The agave nectar and brown sugar provide sweetness without making for a cloying, overly sweet bar.  I can even taste the hint of sea salt.  And yes … I do taste the love that went in to these!  (Love is listed as an ingredient on the label!)

My Final Thoughts:

One of the tastiest granola bars I’ve tried.  It has a wholesome, nourishing quality to it, but it is still delicious enough to be enjoyed as a treat as well as a healthy snack.

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Product Description:

We have combined organic, gluten free, whole grain brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds into an organic gluten-free cracker with a rich, nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch. Delicious on their own or with your favorite topping Mary’s Original Seed Crackers are a staple in
households all over the US!

I received a package of these crackers in my March Love with Food box!

Tea Suggestion:

I love eating crackers with my tea … and these delicious nutty crackers were a perfect accompaniment to a nutty green tea like a Genmaicha … specifically I ate these with this Laoshan Genmaicha Green Tea from one of my favorite tea companies:  Verdant Tea!  A truly delightful pairing!

What I Think:

There’s something different about these crackers.  You can just tell from the moment you take one out of the bag.  They have a sort of slick back side to them, as if they were once a dough that was spread on flat surface, and then baked.  They don’t have that uniform, processed sort of look to them.

These are really tasty.  Lots of seeds add a cool, crunchy texture to these thin crispy crackers.  And what I like is that they’re NOT uniform.  Every once in a while, I’ll get one that’s just a little thicker than the others.  Slightly denser … they’re still tasty, but my favorite ones are when I find one that’s thinner than the rest.  So thin that the cracker is almost transparent.

These remind me of florentine style cookies.  You know, the super thin cookies that look more like clusters of slivered almonds than of cookies?  These look more like clusters of seeds – sesame seeds and flax seeds – than like crackers.

My Final Thoughts:

These were really delicious crackers.  I love the thin, crispy texture and the crackle of all the seeds as I bite into these.  I love the nutty flavor.  These are really very tasty, and I’d definitely get them again if I were to see them while out shopping!