Archive for October, 2013

Trick or Treat!  My Halloween treat came early!

Woo hoo!  I love new subscription boxes, especially when they are as fun as these Graze boxes are!  In each box, I receive four unique healthy snacks/snack mixes.  You can subscribe as a twice a month subscriber or a once a month subscriber (in other words, you can either get one or two boxes per month), and I opted for the once a month plan.

???????????????????????????????And what I really like about this plan is that these are all unique snacks that are made by their own “taste team” and they even have a nutritionist on staff too.  You can learn more about Graze here.  I like that if I’m not particularly crazy about a particular ingredient (example:  seaweed) I can go through their list of different snack mixes and opt out of those particular mixes, and I don’t have to worry about receiving those.  And … if there is a particular mix that I love, I can choose to have them send that particular mix on a regular basis or if I just like the mix (and not love it), I can choose for them to send it occasionally rather than regularly.  I like that a lot, because one thing with my subscription foodie boxes … sometimes I come across a snack that I like so much that I think to myself, “I wish they’d put this snack in almost every box!”  Graze let’s me decide!

For my first box, here are the four snacks that I get to try:  Billionaire’s Shortbread, Olive and Rosemary Bruschetta, Fruit and Seed Flapjack, and Toffee Apple.  YUM!  I’ll write individual reviews on each of these as I have time to try them out!  I’m looking forward to it!

Graze subscriptions are available by invitation only right now, but if you’re interested in subscribing … just comment on this post and be sure to include your email address.  I have FOUR invites available, and I’ll give those out to the first four people who comment.  (First come, first serve on this!)

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

Herbs are a perfect accompaniment to cheese. This delicious recipe combines feta cheese with rosemary, basil, and black pepper for a flavor that perfectly complements our hummus popped chip.

Learn more about this product here.

Tea Suggestion:

These make a great snack with any kind of tea, really, but I chose this First Flush Black Tea from Teatulia.  It’s a flavorful tea, and I liked the way the sweetness of the tea brought out some of the savory qualities of the cheese and herbs.  A really tasty combination.

What I Think:

I found these popped hummus chips in single sized serving bags at my local Subway.  Just about everything about this product enticed me:  popped hummus chips … yum!  Feta and herb … YUM!  I also liked that there are no artificial flavors or colors, and because they’re popped chips instead of fried … that means less fat too.

These are really tasty!  They have a zesty flavor to them.  I can taste the tangy feta cheese and I can taste notes of rosemary, pepper and basil, as well as a hint of onion and possibly garlic.  They are very flavorful.  And they have a very satisfying crunch too.  They are a delicious, salty snack chip that doesn’t taste or feel greasy, and that’s a plus.

My Final Thoughts:

Two thumbs up for these.  I like that they aren’t greasy like a potato chip, but they have all the other qualities of a snack chip that I look for.  They’re crunchy and salty and have a really tasty, savory flavor.

Knoshbox is the only box that I’ll be receiving this month … and I’m glad that Knoshbox is the box that I’m getting because this box rocks!

The theme of this month’s Knoshbox is “Autumn Harvest,” and what a fun theme!  The first product I got really excited about was the box of taffies from Salty Road.  (Seriously, people, these guys make the best taffy ever.)  Salty Caramel Apple taffy even!  This was the next flavor on the list of flavors that I wanted to try from Salty Road.

And if Knoshbox is reading this … the next flavor I want to try is the Salted Caramel, but I’d be really happy with the Peppermint too, if you want to go with that for the December box.  You know … Christmas … peppermint.  YUM.

But the yumminess of Knoshbox doesn’t stop with the taffies … it’s just begun!  Also in this month’s box are two items that I’ve already sampled and reviewed:  Organic Pumpkin Seeds from CB’s Nuts and Apple Cinnamon Pecan Energy Bars from Off The Farm.  And another product that I’ve previously tried … but not reviewed:  Justin’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.


But just because I’ve already tried these … doesn’t mean that I’m not happy to get more of them!  I loved these products when I tasted them the first time … and I’ll enjoy revisiting them!

Also in this month’s box is a full size box of Burnt Sugar and Fennel cookies from Lark Fine Foods.  As you may recall, I’ve sampled a couple of other cookies from Lark Fine Foods, and I enjoyed those immensely – the Salted Rosemary Shortbread cookies are to die for!  So I am excited to try these too.

Another stunning box from Knoshbox!


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

Product Information:

Bumble Bars are crafted by hand in Spokane Valley, Washington. These tasty snack bars are organic, gluten free, non-GMO and provide a great energy boost.

I received this Cherry Chocolate Bumble Bar in my September Knoshbox!

Tea Suggestion:

For this flavorful energy bar, I chose something equally as energizing:  Green Tea Powder!  Specifically, I added a couple of these Japanese Organic Green Tea Powder Packets from Shi Zen into my water bottle, gave it a vigorous shake and enjoyed this invigorating – power packed! – snack!

What I Think:

This is the best Bumble Bar that I’ve tried yet.  So far, I’ve had the opportunity to try the peanut Bumble Bar and the Chocolate Crisp Bumble Bar.  (My review of both of these can be found here.)

But I’m favoring this one because I love the sweet-tart note that the cherry brings to the bar.  Yes it’s chocolate-y and that’s AWESOME … but I love the combination of the chocolate and the cherry.  It’s sweet, fruity and just deliciously yummy!

I’ve tried quite a few different energy bars, and of all the ones that I’ve tried, the Bumble Bars really stick out in my memory as certainly one of the tastiest (if not THE tastiest) that I’ve tried.  There’s a good balance of flavor here, and I love the crunchy crackly texture of the seeds.

My Final Thoughts:

I really like the Bumble Bars!  I love that Bumble Bars are a locally crafted product, and some of their other flavors sound very appealing to me like their Chai Almond (you know I’m going to love that one!) and Awesome Apricot … just to name two!  They’ve got a bunch of flavors though … I’m definitely going to have to try some more flavors out soon!

simplecrisporangeProduct Information:

These natural orange crisps from Seattle, Washington are a delicious cracker alternative. Orange slices add a burst of citrus to cheese plates, cocktails and craft beer. Pair with our favorite cheeses: Jasper Hill Cheddar, Willow Hill Autumn Oak and Cypress Grove Midnight Moon.

I received a package of these dried fruit crisps in my September Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

I love the bright and complex flavor of these crisps!  I went with a chocolate-y tea to enjoy with them mostly because the idea of chocolate and orange really appealed to me at the time.  So I brewed up a cup of this Choco Nut Black Tea from the Ambessa Line from Harney & Sons.  It was indeed a deliciously decadent tea time!

What I Think: 

Wow!  These are amazing!

At first … I was … a little hesitant.  These are very thinly sliced pieces of orange that have been dried.  Peels and all!  I even see bits of seeds in some of these slices, and that just … seemed … weird.  But then I kept reading praises of these on Knoshbox’s facebook page so I decided to break open the package and give ’em a try.

orangeslicesAnd they’re really, really good!  They’re crispy, a little bit chewy, and even a little bit juicy once you bite into them.  I can feel that “burst” of juicy flavor – even if I don’t feel the juice itself – when I bite into the pulpy section of these crisps.

It’s a very bright and invigorating sort of taste on the palate … my palate seems “energized” when I eat these.  It is sweet, tart, and a little bit bitter.  A really interesting contrast when eaten on their own, these also made a nice “cracker” for cheese.

I didn’t try these with the above suggested cheeses.  Instead, I tried them first with a bit of room temperature goat cheese and found this to be a nice pairing.  The tangy quality of the goat cheese brought out not only the tangy notes of the orange, but also the sweetness.

My Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed these.  I was skeptical at first just because … I wasn’t sure how I’d like the orange peels (well, specifically the pithy part), but they add a hint of bitterness to the bright citrus sweetness.  I really liked these with the goat cheese.

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

A delicious gluten-free all-natural snack with the taste of homemade baked cobbler! All sugars come from natural fruit and fruit juice. For as little as 180 calories, both kids and adults will love and devour each blueberry-licious bar!

I received a blueberry fruit bar in my September Love With Food box.

Tea Suggestion:

These fruit bars make a great tea time snack with just about any kind of tea, but, I decided to go with something with nutty tones to bring out some of the sweet, nutty, cobbler-like flavors in the crust of the fruit bars.  I chose this Laoshan Genmaicha Green Tea from Verdant Tea.  A really interesting pairing, although I think that this bar would also go great with a white tea or a black tea!

What I Think:

Really yummy!

This is gluten free too!  Gluten free has never really been something that I’m concerned with, but, I know that gluten sensitivity is something that affects a lot of people, and I like that more and more foods are becoming available for those who are concerned about gluten.

I don’t miss the gluten in this!  This is seriously tasty.  The “cookie” or “cake” part of the bar is soft and chewy, similar to the softness and chewiness you’d find in a typical fig bar, but, it has an oat-y taste and texture that is somewhat reminiscent of a cobbler.  It’s kind of like a blueberry cobbler in a bar … which makes it easy to take a delicious dessert on the go!

The blueberry filling is sweet and slightly sticky … again, similar to what you might find in a fig bar (only it’s blueberry!)  It tastes a lot like a blueberry pie or cobbler filling but it isn’t runny like a cobbler.  Again … this is like cobbler on the go.

My Final Thoughts:

A really satisfying dessert bar.  This bar is something that disappeared quickly … it tasted really good.  Makes a great tea-time treat.  I love the oats in this … I love how the traditional “fig-like bar” becomes almost like a cobbler.  So yummy!


Product Information:

Cinnamon has long been known for its healing qualities. We can’t think of any better therapy than our unique blend of cinnamon sugar-infused caramel. Craving the perfect recipe? This is sweet relief. Pure, natural ingredients combined to make a snack that’s deliciously addictive.

I received a bag of these yummy corn puffs in my September Love With Food box.

Tea Suggestion:

Since these have a delicious cinnamon-y taste to them, I wanted to go with a pure tea so that i could enjoy the cinnamon notes.  I decided on a tea with some natural cinnamon flavors to it, so I chose this Vietnam Black OP1 from Single Origin Teas.  I loved how well the tea complemented the corn snacks.  The cinnamon notes of the snack brought out the cinnamon-like flavors of the tea.  Really tasty!

What I Think:

Having enjoyed both the caramel and the salted caramel Cosmos Creations, I was fairly certain I’d enjoy the Cinnamon Crunch variety.

Sweet, warm with cinnamon, crunchy … I like that these are slightly less sweet than the caramel version as the cinnamon cuts through some of the sweetness.

As I’m eating these, though, I can’t help but imagining them in a bowl with milk and eating them like a cereal.  This flavor, especially, has a very “cereal-ish” quality to it.  That’s not meant to be a criticism or a praise … just an observation.

My Final Thoughts:

I like these.  I can definitely seeing myself buying more of these and fortunately, I have seen them in stores, so I won’t need to order them.


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

Product Description:

Great Bean is on a mission to deliver the highest possible state of wellbeing through raw, organic chocolate. After working as a professional chocolatier in Austin, Texas, founder Nora Hamerman became well known throughout town for her creations. In 2012, she set out to create an innovative, healthy, and environmentally-conscious chocolate company. Great Bean chocolate was born to nourish, indulge, and regenerate.

I received this bar of chocolate in my February Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

I like eating chocolate bars with a cup of pure black tea, preferably one with a natural chocolate-y tone to it.  However, because of the lovely notes of cinnamon in this tea, I thought that I’d select a tea with a slightly spicy intonation, like this Grand Yunnan Imperial from Le Palais de Thés.  It was an excellent pairing,  I like the way the warmth of the tea brought out some of the deeper flavors of the chocolate bar, and the sweet fruit notes of the tea accentuated the flavor of the fig in the confection.

What I Think:

It’s chocolate!  OK, I’ve got a confession … I tend to ‘hoard’ my gourmet chocolate bars that I receive in these boxes for times when I really need … good chocolate.  That’s why … I haven’t reviewed this chocolate bar until now.

This is really yummy.  I am not always as excited about raw chocolate as I am for roasted chocolate, because the roasting of the cacao bean brings out some really lovely flavors in the chocolate.  But the combination of the fig, cinnamon and herbs really works to the raw chocolate’s advantage, I think.

There is a really sharp snap to the dark chocolate. The cinnamon melds beautifully with the chocolate to give it a warm flavor … something that I think would be “lacking” in the raw chocolate otherwise.  The cinnamon sort of gives this candy bar that sort of warmth that it needs.  In addition to the herbs I taste sea salt and of course – the fig!  I love the fig in this bar!  It adds a neat texture that is chewy and the seeds of the fig crackle in my mouth!  And it’s sweet and really quite yummy.

My Final Thoughts:

The bar is not overly sweet, it is a good balance of bitter and sweet flavors.  There is a really nice depth of flavor to this bar … it’s a delicious, multi-dimensional candy bar.  It is at once bitter, sweet, salty, and just … INTERESTING to eat!

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

For the zest of the Mediterranean, our Sundried Tomato, Basil & Feta flavor can’t be beat. The tang of tomatoes warmed in the sun, along with flavorful feta cheese and a hint of basil, brings a delightful taste of the “Old World” to each crisp.

I received a bag of these crisps in my September Goodie Box.

Tea Suggestion:

I enjoyed these crisps with a cup of green tea – Organic Nonpareil Ming Qian Dragon Well from Teavivre to be specific!  I really love this tea, and together with these crisps, I had a really enjoyable tea time!  The sweet, vegetative flavor brought out the tangy quality of the feta and the savory qualities of the tomato and basil.  A really delicious combination.

What I Think:

These are something that … if I saw them on the supermarket shelf, I would have grabbed out of curiosity – I love the flavor combination!  Tomato, basil and feta?  Plus hummus?  Yes please!

And … yep!  These are really tasty.

I taste the tomato, the basil, and the feta cheese.  I even taste the hummus.  But even though these are a healthier alternative to your typical chip … they don’t taste healthy.  That is to say … they have a satisfying crunch and a savory flavor that keeps me munching on them.  Lightly salted.  Just right.

I like the ingredient list.  These don’t appear to be loaded with lots of stuff that doesn’t need to be there.  They’re popped and not fried, and there’s no corn syrup or artificial flavoring.

My Final Thoughts:

Yeah, I like these a lot.  These are definitely something that I am going to be asking my local grocer to start carrying (It doesn’t appear that these are available anywhere nearby, so I’ll take my empty bag to Chuck’s Produce!) because I want more!

Cranberry Hazelnut Crisps

Photo from Potter’s Crackers website.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Information:

INGREDIENTS: Wheat Flour*, Buttermilk*, Raw Cane Sugar*, Rolled Oats*, Hazelnuts*, Cranberry*, Raisins*, Sesame Seeds*, Sunflower Seeds*, Apple Cidar Vinegar*, Baking Soda, Sea Salt

* denotes organic ingredients

I received a “crate” of these crackers in my September Knoshbox!

Tea Suggestion:

For a scrumptious tea time with these crackers and goat cheese, I went with a pure black tea. I chose this Uva Ceylon from Upton Tea Imports.  It was a nice pairing, and I think that the citrus-y tones of the black tea helped bring out the orange-y flavors of the crackers.  Delicious!

What I Think:

I’m not a stranger to these bread-like, crunchy gourmet crisps.  At my local Whole Foods Market, they sell “Raincoast Crisps” from Leslie Stowe Fine Foods, and I’ve eaten several packages of their cranberry hazelnut offering as that seems to be the flavor that is most readily available at my local store (although now that I’ve seen their other flavors on their website, I might have to pay better attention when I’m shopping and try some of their other flavor combinations.  Fig and olive?  Salty date and almond?  Rosemary raisin pecan?  YUM!)

But this review is about Potter’s Crackers, not Leslie Stowe’s Raincoast Crisps.  And even though they offer the same flavor profile, I must admit that these taste just a little different than the raincoast crisps!  And that makes sense since the two have different ingredient lists.

I must admit that I think I like this cranberry hazelnut crisp better than the Raincoast Crisp variety.  These taste FRESHER, and as a result, I can taste the cranberry and hazelnut more distinctly in these crisps from Potter’s Crackers!  These taste more like … homemade bread that’s been sliced thin and then toasted to crispness, whereas I don’t remember tasting the hazelnut and cranberry notes so clearly in the raincoast crisps.

The two crisps do have a similar texture though … hard and crunchy.  These are spectacular with a soft cheese, like a goat cheese.  Something tangy and a little bit salty that will accentuate the sweetness of the hazelnut and the tart notes of the cranberry a little bit.

And if you’re wondering, Knoshbox suggests pairing these crisps with …

mascarpone and goat cheese.  Washi this pairing down with Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay.

I didn’t try them with marscapone.  But I love them with goat cheese.  This is a dangerously delicious combination, though, and once you start … you’ll not want to stop!  The cheese is creamy and makes a delightful texture contrast to the crunchy crisps.

As I munched on these, I could taste a note of orange.  The orange really emerges when I spread the crisp with goat cheese.  I thought at first something might be wrong with my taste buds, because the ingredient list that I was reading didn’t include oranges or orange juice in the list.  I thought maybe it was the tea that I was drinking … but the orange is much more distinct than any hint of citrus that i might get from this tea.

Then I looked at the label that came wrapped around the cute little crate/box that the crackers were packaged in.  Yep … the ingredient list here is different than on the website.  (The ingredient list above is for the California location, and these crackers were prepared in the Wisconsin location … even though the photo from the Potter’s Crackers website shows the California location label.)

Wheat Flour, Buttermilk, Raw Cane Sugar, Rolled Oats, Hazelnut, Cranberries, Raisins, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Oranges, Baking Soda, Sea Salt.

So … my taste buds weren’t going wonky … I did taste orange!

My Final Thoughts:

These are really delicious.  I like them better than the Raincoast Crisps that I’ve tried thus far … they have a fresh-baked taste to them and that made all the difference in the world.