In my grocery store I have passed the rack of Kind bars quite often and to be honest they just looked like candy bars so I didn’t pick them up. While I am fond of the occasional sweet, they are not my go to when I go for snacks. I tend to go for savory. I pick up pretzels or nuts or cheese when I need a special treat.
And to be honest most snack bars of this sort are too sweet for me. However I was drawn in by the name. Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew. I love Cashews and will happily take down more cherries in one sitting then I really should. And when I go for chocolate, I do tend to lean towards the darker varieties. In addition I stopped by the rack looking for a snack and saw that most of them had some sort of cookie dough flavor.
Don’t get me wrong, I like cookie dough in itself. I am not a fan of cookie dough flavored things as they are almost always too sweet for me. So the Kind Bar stood out even more as it was not cookie dough flavored.
The bar has 170 calories which is a bit much for me. I generally try not to go over a hundred with my afternoon snack. Occasionally I will push it to 130 but 170 is pretty high. However once in a while I can indulge.
The Kind bar has a chewy texture with enough crunch from the nuts to make it satisfying to bite into. The chocolate is sweet but it has the dark chocolate bite to it that I really enjoy and the cherries are more tart than sweet, almost to the point of cranberry tartness but not quite.
It was a rather enjoyable snack. In fact it was everything I hoped for when I read the label. However for me, it was too large. I would have been more satisfied with a bar half the size. It was simply too much for me in one sitting. However when I went to the website I saw that they do sell boxes of mini kind bars. From the package on the screen it looked like they sold this bar in a version that was about half the size.
While this was delicious, in this size i would probably not buy it again. It is simply too much of a good thing, However I would happily purchase this dark chocolate cherry cashew bar in a half sized version. I think that would be just enough sweet, just enough afternoon energy and just the right amount of calories for me to feel comfortable with this as an afternoon snack.
I know what you are thinking. That is a salad topper, not a snack. I know, but stick with me. The Modern Mill Salad toppers are a line that is carried at most grocery stores, at least the ones near me. There are a bunch of different varieties. This particular one is my favorite. It has edamame, cranberries, cashews and sunflower seeds.
Now here’s the thing. As a salad topper, I am not a fan of this. I’ve tried most of the line and while I purchase them, rarely do any of them make it onto my salad. I think it is a bit too heavy for a salad topping. The cashews are whole and over all this mix tends to dominate whatever salad it is put on. There are also just too many things going on with it. It’s like they pack one too many ingredients into the mix for me to feel happy with it on my salad.
However, as much as I am not a fan of this on my salad, I love it as a mid afternoon snack.
With the whole cashews, sunflower seeds and edamame adding salty nutty crunch and the cranberries adding a tart fruity note, it is actually a really good snack. Very well balanced and really enjoyable. Especially on those days where you just want something to crunch into.
One fourth of a cup is 140 calories so it is a snack for a day when you are going the extra mile with your work out, not for one where the most activity you are getting is chasing a paperclip that some how shot across the room. However there is no filler. The ingredients are really edamame, sunflower seeds, cranberries and cashews. It has 11% of your fiber and 7 grams of protein.
While this isn’t something I enjoy on my salad, I love keeping this in my pantry for a protean packed pick me up. It is well worth having on hand. Just remember that it is very easy to go over board with it, so measure it out instead of simply eating from the bag. I love measuring it out into a small container and taking it with me on bike rides or to snack on between meetings. It is also a good reminder that just because a product is designed for one thing, doesn’t mean it can’t be fabulous for something else.
Good afternoon my darlings, I hope you are having a fantastic Wednesday. Mine is off to a slow start. I made the mistake of having my coffee out on the back porch. Today was significantly warmer than it had been and this morning the back porch where the sun is captured was fa fantastic spot to just sit and sip my first cup of the morning. And my second. And part of a third before I convinced myself to go back inside. I did work on my lap top so it wasn’t just idling, but I have to admit, it wasn’t me at my most productive.
we are entering the season where for a few short weeks, barring rain storms, I can spend as much time as I want on the back porch with no issues. After those few weeks the temps will rise and my time will shorten until spending any time out there while the sun is out will be a misery. Then it will be lovely in the evenings. Gradually the summer will progress and even if I went out at midnight it will be too warm to enjoy. My back porch will then be ignored until the temps start to drop and then it will be a reverse. I will slowly start enjoying evenings, lead into spending time out on the porch and once I am accustomed to taking my coffee to the porch in the morning, winter will arrive and it will grow too cold to use again.
It’s a cycle.
I do like taking my coffee out there, even if it does cut down on my productivity. I’ll just work a little later tonight to make up for it.
Have you seen these ToKits? I have been obsessed with them since I first saw them. It is pictured to the side. As a reward to myself for sticking with my diet and exercise plan every week I remain focused I get to put just a little bit of money aside so I can purchase one. If you haven’t seen one of these in action I highly recommend just going on the site to watch the videos. If you like to cook but don’t have a lot of space this looks like it would be a fantastic option. At the moment one of the reason I am posting the Kitchen Kit posts is that I am trying to slim down my kitchen gear to just what works and what I like using. Kind of like a declutter for the kitchen. that will soon change over to just an In the Kitchen Segment as I try new recipes. But that is another tale. And a long way to go to say that I find the Omni Cook from ToKit fascinating, and that they have a discount code.
Shall we move onto today’s look? I think we should.
Today we have a fairly neutral look. I used a lot of products I absolutely love, mostly so that I could play around with the new products. The Embryolisse is a standard now and I pretty much use it before any makeup now as that extra layer of plumping moisture just makes everything work better and last longer.
I love everything about the Tatcha Silk Canvas primer. It is one of the only products I have ever tried that is actually worth the mega hype it received when it first came out.
The Yensa Foundation is still under trial but i have to say as this is the last day of the trial, I absolutely love it. My full review will be up tomorrow, but I am already putting it on my must replace list. This skin on skin formula just melts into the skin and feels weightless all day.
Do I need to tell you how much i love this Trestique Bronzing stick? While I don’t like everything from the brand, this bronzing stick and the lip crayons are must have products and now that this bronzer is refillable I will be refilling it as soon as it runs out.
This is the second use for the Cupid Duo by Natasha Denona. the blush performed well. It applies darker than it looks on the fingertip but blends beautifully. It was the highlighter that I had issues with yesterday and again today. I usually apply highlighter with a finger, but when I tried with this it simply disappeared. I think I might have blended too much or it simply liked my finger more than my cheek. Today I used a brush. It worked better but still has a tendency to blend out to nothing. I’ll be playing with it to see if I can get it to perform better. I suspect I will reach for this duo when I want to use this blush and then just use the highlighter because it is there. But time will tell.
Today was the first use of the KimChi setting powder. It is translucent but it does have a slight tint to it. Personally I like this as it means it isn’t a splotch of white on the skin when applied. I needed very little to set my makeup and it worked beautifully for this first use. AS I am now adding sunscreen to my face at the end of my skincare application each day, my skin can look a little shiny. which happens every summer. A good setting powder can take off that added shine without making me look powdery and cakey and this far this is working well for that. it will be interesting to see how it works as the temps rise. But for a first use, I am happy.
Today was also the first use of the Sandbar eyeshadow palette, Mirage. This is a very neutral palette but it looks like it would be great for everyday use. Today I went with one matte and one shimmer to see how they performed. I might have gone a little over board with the gold. The matte had a bit of fall out but it wasn’t too bad. The gold I thought I only put a little bit of in the center of the lid, but then I blended with a finger tip and it turns out I put on a lot more than I thought I did. So that is something I will have to work on as I proceed. Over all I think that this is going to be a fun neutrals palette to play with. I’ll be using it for the rest of the week and into next to see how it performs. with luck I’ll reign in the gold shimmer.
The ABH mascara isn’t new to me. I like the volumizing of it. There are two things to watch out for. The first is that it takes a little longer to dry than a lot of other formulas so you need to give it a minute to dry down. Until it is dry it will smudge like crazy. This is not the mascara you want to sneeze with when applying. The second thing to watch out for is length of time. Eight hours is fine but if you wear it too much longer (maybe 12 hours) it will flake a bit. I can either wear this during the day for a work day or I can use it to spruce up my lashes post work day for a night out. Beyond that it is a great mascara (and those are both easy to deal with issues).
The M2UNYC matte liquid Lip is not new either but it is fabulous and every time I use it I think that I need this formula in many shades. It dries down so that it stops leaving lip prints everywhere and locks in place but it doesn’t dry down enough to leave my lips feeling like they have been left alone in the desert for too long. It is an amazingly good formula and it is not that expensive. A full size is only $8. Which is a steal for the formula. (and no I am not an affiliate, although i wouldn’t mind being, I just really like the formula).
And that is me today. Overall I am pleased with the fairly neutral look today. I also have a conference call later so it is work appropriate as well. Until then though, I have to make up some time form my slow morning with the coffee. I’ll have to skip the porch tomorrow and Friday though and just let myself enjoy it on Saturday morning instead. Since it is a chores at home sort of weekend coming up I won’t mind the slow start then. But for now, it is time to buckle down at the desk. Have a great Wednesday!
This is it my darlings. We have reached the fourth and final smoothie variety in the Smoothie Box that the brand sent to me for the purpose of review. Each Monthly Smoothie Box contains four packs of Smoothies. Each of the packs contains five separate smoothie packets so in total there are 20 smoothies included. Each packet contains two portions. In general I find that if I am eating the smoothie for a snack i will only eat half of the package (1 portion) but if I am using it as a lunch then i will mix up the full package. So I would get 20 lunches or 40 snacks out of a Smoothie box. Of the three I’ve tried, the Orange (Clementine) and the Cacao smoothies are fantastic for lunch replacements and the Berry I actually prefer for a snack.
This is the first of the Green with Apple that I have tried so let’s see where I would place it. I will be honest, I left this one for last because I thought it would be too sweet for a meal and thus end up as a snack item. I decided this solely based on the fact that there are both apples and pineapples on the front picture. I know, you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover or a smoothie by it’s bag.
So I blended up the smoothie to see if it would be a lunch item or a snack for later. I blended it with skim milk as I didn’t want to risk the Almond milk making it sweeter than it might be on it’s own. Plus I find that milk is a nice neutral base so that i can determine the actual flavor before I start to adjust it. I can’t lie, when I blended it, the smoothie very much resembled my homemade spinach dip. which isn’t too surprising considering spinach is the first item on the ingredients list.
Full ingredients: Organic Spinach, Organic Granny Smith Apples, Organic Pineapple, Organic avocado, Organic apple juice, Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Brown Flax Seeds and Organic Hemp hearts.
When pouring the smoothie into my cup I thought spinach dip. I had to look away to convince my brain that it wasn’t spinach dip. It didn’t smell like spinach dip, which helped. while there is an undertone of spinach the smoothie tasted predominantly of brown flax seeds with a little bit of the hemp hearts thrown in. Occasionally there would be a little nibblet that would make me think apple or pineapple, but it is overwhelmingly flax and hemp heart. It is a very seed-y tasting smoothie.
Which is not a bad taste, just not what I was expecting. And oddly, I miss the sweetness. I think this one could do with a little hint of sweetness added to kind of balance out the seed/nutty taste. In all of the smoothies there were recommendations. With almost all of them I was worried that the additions would make them too sweet and take them out of lunch territory and into snack milkshake ground. (Except for the cold brew coffee added to the cacao smoothie. If I could have that for breakfast every day I would.)
with this smoothie I think the add ins would not only make it delicious, i think they might make it better. The suggestions for possible add ins include, Protein powder, Almond Milk, fruit juice, banana or nut butter. I try not to do too many add ins because I don’t want to increase the calories too much. For me though I think adding the almond milk and banana are the way to go with this smoothie. The almond would pair well with the nuttiness of the seeds and add a little sweetness and the banana I think would bring the other fruit forward a little more.
The smoothie isn’t bad on it’s own, but it feels very one note. I love the iron level, calcium, and protein that I get form this, I just want to add a little bit of sweetness. I will happily have this smoothie as a lunch, but it is the only one that I received in the variety pack where I feel the add ins are needed. In every other smoothie the flavors were complex enough that it feels like a full developed well thought out smoothie. The add ins would be nice but not necessary. This one, needs just a little bit of help. While this Green with Apple is probably my least favorite of the smoothies, it is still quite delicious and I will be consuming all of them during various lunch times. I will also be picking up a bunch of bananas.
Smoothie Box very kindly sent me their monthly smoothie box for the purpose of review. The full subscription review you can find here. As I make my way through the box I am reviewing the individual smoothie types in the box. I received the Variety pack and it contained four separate flavors. This Super Smoothie Berry flavor is number three.
With these smoothies, each pack contains two portions. In general I will always make both portions at the same time, however if I am using it as a snack instead of as a meal, I will only eat half and save the other half for the next afternoon. I still mix them at the same time, then split them, put the unused half in the freezer and then the next morning transfer the un consumed half from the freezer to the fridge. By the time I am ready for my afternoon snack it has the right consistency again. It is super easy and something that really helps me out on days that I know are going to be jam packed.
This smoothie has the lowest calorie count of the smoothies I have tried from the brand. It has 90 calories per serving. For me this was an interesting one. I generally find that if my smoothies are too sweet, my brain thinks of them as a desert and I don’t really feel like I’ve had a lunch. It will feel like a snack rather than a meal and then no matter how many calories are in the mix I will still feel like i should eat something.
If I am using it as a snack then I am fine with the sweeter varieties. Thus far it hasn’t been a problem with the Smoothie Box Smoothies. They have had enough savory elements that I think of them as a meal. With this Berry Smoothie I mixed it up with Almond Milk (one of the recommended liquids). It was absolutely delicious. The issue was that it tasted like a fabulous berry flavored milkshake.
I think part of it is that I always find almond milk to be a little on the sweet side. Once I tasted it, I knew it would be too sweet to serve as a meal, so I went ahead and divided it into two and froze half. I’ll have the other half as a snack tomorrow afternoon.
It was absolutely delicious I just can’t think of something that sweet as a meal. which is my own personal preference. As a snack though, it felt completely indulgent. I found myself double checking the calories. (90 x2 + 60 for a cup and a half of almond milk = 240 for the shake, split in half is 120 cal). It felt like it should have been a lot more. And because it felt like a lot more, I did a little extra in my work out telling myself “Think about that milkshake you had as a snack”. which helped me out in other ways.
I think if I were to use this as a lunch, I would use skim milk and possibly throw a knob of ginger into the mix to make it a bit more savory. However that being said, I am okay with having one variety of these smoothies be designated as snack smoothies rather than lunch time meals. That may just be it’s lane. either way i was delighted with the taste and am looking forward to indulging in the rest of the Super Smoothie Berry bags from the pack.
I know, some of you are thinking, ‘But Mimsy I don’t drink coffee.’ I know, and I got you. I am a huge coffee fan and quite honestly I do love a cup of French press coffee.
And I will admit, I bought my first French Press because I had a cup of French Press Coffee and not only thought it tasted good, I thought it looked cool. and I do love a bit of cool Kit. I have several coffee presses and I will tell you that this is one of my favorites because it comes completely apart for easy cleaning, however the truth is i like the orange.
For those who have never used a French Press, You grind your coffee and place it in the bottom of the glass carafe. You then pour boiling water and let it steep (generally around four minutes) then you lower the plunger. The press pushes the grounds to the bottom while leaving the coffee clear and free to pour. The inside lid of my coffee press has a divot cut out for easy pouring. Most do. it should turn so you can keep the heat in while you brew and then turn to dispense. (at the bottom of the page is a diagram with measurements and timing if you are interested.)
I know, not an earth shattering revelation.
Prior to this I only had drip coffee (this was quite some years ago). I loved that i could play around with the strength of the coffee by altering the time I let it steep and adjusting the grind of the coffee. But most importantly I found i could adjust the flavor by adding things to the grind. I believe a cinnamon stick went first. I remember cardamom pods went second and then the third time i tried it, I combined both the cinnamon stick and the cardamom pods.
I played around with different additives for my coffee and then I finally thought, what about things other than coffee? i started playing around with beverages. There were things that needed to be boiled like blueberry simple syrup. I made the simple syrup, added the berries to the caraffe and let them steep then lowered the plunger. I also made cold things. I took out the plunger added a bunch of fresh black berries, filled the caraffe with gin and covered the top with plastic wrap. I sat it in the fridge for a week, took it out and used the plunger to seperate the blackberries from the gin. I actually tend to make that almost every summer so we can use it for cocktails.
However, once my brain switched out of ‘this is a coffee press’ mode, the world was my oyster. As long as the world fit into the coffee press.
While I love making coffee with my coffee press, my favorite thing to do is to use the press to adapt store bought stock. Chicken stock from a reputable brand is fine, but often it tastes very one note. It honestly tastes like chicken, which is what it should taste like. And Veg stock can often just sort of taste like salty water that might once have been near some vegetables.
But boiling up the stock and putting it into the coffee press with crushed ginger, a crushed garlic clove, lemon zest and some bruised rosemary turns it into something else.
Once you have let it steep you lower the plunger and keep all of the added bits in the bottom of the carafe while the delicious, freshly infused stock, tailored perfectly to your taste and your dish, is poured out and ready for you to use. You don’t have to wonder if someone is going to bite down on a chunk of ginger or garlic, or suddenly find themselves flossing with a bit of rosemary.(Although rosemary is sneaky, I suggest leaving it on the stem and using the back of your knife to bruise the leaves so they let out the oils into the liquid but stays as a branch.)
In my house we keep a couple of different coffee presses. We have both metal and plastic ones. Part of why we have multiples is that I had a couple and my babydoll had a couple and then when we combined houses we had many. This carafe is glass and the plunger is metal which doesn’t tend to keep flavors and if it seems like it isn’t getting clean enough by hand, we put it in the dishwasher which takes anything off of the metal, especially on sanitation mode. My babydoll thinks that the plastic of the carafe (which I don’t send through the dish washer) I use for stock smells like herbs, so we have a separate one so the coffee is never rosemary scented.
I have had to replace the glass carafe and places like Grosche International do carry the glass carafe separately. They also sell replacement plungers if yours has reached the end of it’s life. I know we had to replace a plunger on another one we have a while back. I keep thinking i will purchase a new one at some point, but honestly they are such a simple mechanism that if you take care of them they will last for a really long time.
Personally, I consider this one of my essential Kitchen tools. While I love it for coffee, it is a true multitasker. even if you don’t drink coffee, I would urge you to look into picking one up and playing around with it. they are fairly inexpensive models out there and they are versatile enough that I think they easily earn a place in even a non-coffee drinker’s kitchen.
Although if you are using your coffee press to make coffee, this helpful image from Grosche International has all the measurements and timing you need.
Guess what I remembered! I remembered to order the Glossy Box Easter Egg. I know that sounds strange, but it has become a minor spring time obsession. For the last three years I have told myself, oh wouldn’t that be a nice Easter treat. Actually now that i think about it, it may be closer to five years now.
My thinking was always that Easter is the one holiday that is done at my house. Thanksgiving and Christmas, we travel. Where we travel depends on the year, but it does mean that during those holidays our house is only a staging area. I am in charge of Thanksgiving pies (mostly because they can be baked ahead, packed in a cooler and driven several hours). then after thanksgiving we look like an off shoot of Santa’s workshop as we gather everything in and figure out what is getting shipped out and what is getting loaded into a car or settled for air flight travel.
Easter is at our house. Which means the deep down company is coming clean, which is a very different cleaning than the normal everyday. Especially these days. Extra supplies are gotten in mostly because we don’t keep a lot of snacks around the house and they will be wanted all weekend. we also don’t keep soda around the house but that too will be in high demand. Cheese boards are planned, charcuterie is arranged. We pickle our own mushrooms and radishes, but load up on other picked goods. I do make a spicy lemony marinade to add to my olives. Nuts are toasted and seasoned and then there is the three to four days of meals including the big Easter Sunday meal. It is an extravaganza.
And it is bigger this year since we skipped the past two years.
And while I will also be assembling Easter baskets, I like to, at the end of it all, have something for myself. You know, besides the martini I settle myself with once company has left and things have been put back into normal working order. There is also something for my babydoll and I to share. This year we ordered an extra little something from igourmet in addition to the Easter themed baskets. Which is lovely and we will shade as we collapse post guest.
However each year I think, wouldn’t the Glossy Box Easter egg be fun. I could have my treat and add another Easter decoration to the house. And then I forget all about it. But not this year! Ha! I remembered. And it only took three post it notes and an alarm on my cell phone.
Somedays, you have to celebrate the little victories. And this week has been one of those weeks where it feels like you are just slogging through waste deep mud. It is Wednesday and I feel like Monday and Tuesday each took twice as long as usual. Some weeks are just like that. So it is nice to celebrate the little victories. Like remembering to order a limited edition before it sells out or knowing that you have a truffle cheese hidden in your butter dish at the back of the fridge that won’t be part of the group feasting.
Okay I will be honest, Today’s makeup was mostly chosen because i wanted to try out some new products or use products I haven’t reached for in a while. while I am loving testing out the Lorac Illuminating Primer, when I wear it I can’t wear a highlighter. It simply can’t compete with the prime. which is fine, but I wanted to try out the Model Co highlighter. So I went with a favorite. The elf Poreless putty primer. I think this may be the third one i’ve gone through. It is a fantastic formula. If you have dryer skin than mine they do make a hydrating version. It is a little too hydrating for me unless I am wearing a really drying foundation, so I stick with the original. I have no complaints about the original.
The Catrice Foundation I like. It is a really light shade so i am trying to reach for it a bit more before the sun starts giving me a tan. I love the foundation and it is a good product if you are going to be running around all day and need something that stays in place. It is listed as a 24 hr foundation. While I have never pushed it that far I have worn it for ten hours straight with no issues. My one problem with it is the dropper. Mine doesn’t really want to work so I end up pouring product out onto the back of my hand. It can get a little messy so I keep a cloth handy. It is the one drawback of the product, but easy to get over.
I have several Nars products in my drawer and I tend to forget about them. which is kind of funny as for a while I was using a full face of Nars as my go to look. But I don’t find myself reaching for the products much any more. They are good products so I need to remember them. I’m not sure why I over look them now, I think it might be because I have found other products I like just as well if not better. I think it may be more a factor of the world of makeup expanding. I used to have just a few go to brands that I trusted and used, now i use products from a wider range of companies. it was still fun to use this blush.
The Too Faced and the bareMinerals I will always reach for. They are both fantastic and always reliable. I need to take out some of my Too Faced shadow palettes. which Oddly i usually think of in Spring. I think it is because of the color ranges in the shadow palettes I have. Actually I need to test one out to see if I want to use it for Easter or if i want to go full on pastel.
I did not go pastel with the eyes today. I used the Eyeko Double Act dual shadow stick. I really like the formula. I’ll need to play around with it a bit to apply the right amount of product. A little does go a long way. It blends really nicely as well. I have the Dusk and Dawn Shades. Dusk was fantastic and I can see myself reaching for it often. I hoped that Dawn would be a little more brightly copper in color. It worked well, I just found myself wanting more of a contrast. And when I went to get the link from the site for the above list, I say they have the sugar and spice Double Act stick. That looks like it may have the contrast i want. I love the simple eye look and throwing a single shadow stick into a makeup bag instead of an entire palette is a great travel plan, but when I do that I want greater contrast between the two shades. I will continue playing around with this though and see if I really like the formula. If it keeps working out for me i will order the sugar and spice as well as possibly others. Today for a first use, i really liked this.
Before I forget, I also liked the Model Co highlight. It was brighter than I am used to, but it still looked nice. It was a soft glow without the glitter which I appreciate.
I am in love with the new Ultravolume Tubing mascara from Blinc. I knew I liked the length of the regular tubing mascara but this one fills the lashes out making them thicker as well as longer. I am totally in love with it. I do think that I might need to remember to curl my lashes first though. Thee is no curl to the formula and I think that if i remember my curler first I will get even more dramatic results. If you are using an eyelash curler though, remember to curl the lashes before applying mascara. It reduces breakage and pulling.
Finally we have the Pixi By Petra Lip. It was a little more pink than I was expecting. It is supposed to be a sheer wash of color (and I suppose if you sheer out ruby you get pink) I just wasn’t expecting it. However after a minute or two the color faded back a bit and just left my lips with a really nicely moisturizing lip balm. I really like it. And it doesn’t leave a trial of pink lips everywhere. Just a little balm smear on the rim of the cup. Over all for a first use I like it better than my initial impression of it.
I know I chose a bunch of new items because I couldn’t resist. I just wanted to play. sometimes, you need to give into the impulse, and today I did. And i am glad I did. All of the new items performed well for their first time out of the gate and I look forward to putting them through their paces. For now though it is back to work for me. I hope your Wednesday runs smoothly and easily and that you get to coast down the slope of the remaining week.
At this time of year, time is at a premium. It is almost as though with the arrival of spring the world wakes up shakes off it’s lethargy and goes into hyperdrive. It is my busiest time of year and honestly, my lunch time game suffers because of it. While a lot of studies go into breakfast being the most important meal of the day, for me lunch time is key.
As anyone following along with my posts on a regular basis knows, I am working towards losing weight. I have no desire to run around in a bikini or imitate any form of model-esque appearance. My goal is simply to be a healthier me. And for me to be healthier I need to get some weight off of my bones. If nothing else it will help out my joints in the long run.
the thing is, I cook. I love to cook. Even before activities were curtailed we ate out at most once a month. Other wise I cook. Which, when paired with a weight loss program, means breaking down recipes by caloric intake and portioning things out. Time is often a factor (for everyone, I know) so a lot of times I will make a larger meal, and then portion it out into several meals, freezing portions so that on days when it is to rushed to cook, I have a meal handy.
In theory, this is fabulous. In practice it means that on the nights I cook I really have to monitor what it is that I am portioning out and not say to myself, ‘Well it wouldn’t hurt to have a little extra since there are so many left overs.’ The key to not doing that is a good lunch. And often an afternoon snack.
These smoothie packs are fantastic for that. The calories are listed on the back, all the ingredients are chopped and ready for blending and they are a great mix of ingredients. This Clementine Smoothie (renamed Orange Smoothie on the website)is 120 calories per portion and has loads of good stuff inside. There are two portions per bag. If I am having it as a snack I will only have one portion. If I am having it for lunch i will have two.
The ingredients in this smoothie mix are: Mandarin Segments, Organic Sweet potatoes, Organic Ginger, Organic Coconut Water, Organic Dates, Organic Coconut Cream, Organic Lemon Juice, Carrots and Pumpkin seeds.
It is a really interesting mix. The carrots, mandarins and dates make up the sweetness but the ginger and lemon bring it into the savory category. It is a spicy carroty orange flavor which I really enjoy. While the back of the package recommends adding in bananas, Protein Powder, Banana yogurt Orange Juice or Pineapple juice, today I went rogue. I added coconut water and then added a scoop of vanilla bean Greek Yogurt (I am absolutely loving the brand Noosa right now. For me the Vanilla bean has taken the place of after dinner ice cream. It is my favorite.)
The blend oddly enough ,makes it taste a little more like carrot cake. Which I have to admit is my favorite kind of cake. I have had this smoothie with orange juice before and the juice bumps up the orange flavor (obviously) but even with the added sweetness it still has that ginger spice to it.
For me, I am okay with the sweetness, but if it is too sweet then my brain won’t register it as a meal. It will simply thing of the smoothie as a “treat”. Even though it was vaguely reminiscent of carrot cake, it wasn’t too sweet and it made the perfect lunch. As I knw this afternoon was going to be crazy, I went ahead and mixed it up in the morning and put the smoothie in the fridge to wait until lunch time. That’s actually why I used the yogurt. well besides added taste. It keeps the smoothie thick even though the fridge lets some of the frozen bits melt a little by lunch time. It is still just how I like it. This Clementine (Now Orange) Super Smoothie was a fabulous addition to my day.
Recently Smoothie Box gifted me a Smoothie Box for the purpose of review. For the review of the box as a whole you can click this link. As I work through the box I will be trying out each flavor. As always my opinions are my own. The Smoothie Box I received was the variety pack. If you remember some of my earlier posts, I love a good variety pack. It is a great way to try out a bunch of flavors and get a good idea about the brand as a whole. I love this approach with everything from food to perfume Samples.
I put this review in my snack time line up because these smoothies can be either a snack or a lunch time option. Each smoothie is in an individual bag and has two portions in it. I generally find that if I am eating it a a snack, I will blend the entire bag, and then only drink half. If I have the entire bag then I will use it as a meal replacement. So since it can be both, we are calling it Snack time.
the Smoothie I am trying out today is the Super Smoothie Cacao. Like all of the smoothie bags it has two portions inside. each portion is 130 calories. To mix up you need eight to twelve ounces of liquid added to the mix in the bag when you blend it up. I have a traditional blender (although i am looking at some of the more updated blenders because mine is getting up there in age) and to get the smoothies to blend well I need 12 ounces of liquid. With eight ounces things tend to get stuck and it becomes too thick. So I use eight ounces of Skim Milk (90 cal) with four ounces of water. which means when I have this Cacao Smoothie for a lunch it comes in at 350 calories which is the perfect lunch time meal for me.
On the back of the bag there are listed recommended add ins which I really like. Sometimes I will add other items into the mix, just so that it varies them a bit more nd makes them taste different. A lot of the times I just add the milk and water. Smoothie Box recommends Bananas, Protein Powder, Almond Milk, Cold brew, and Nut butter. Quite frankly all of them sound like they would be delicious add ins.
They recommend you add in the contents of the smoothie bag first and then add the piquid, but I find with my blender adding the milk and water in first helps keep the frozen bits from getting caught under the blade.
I chose this smoothie first from the box because I often have issues with chocolate based smoothies. I actually expected this one to be the one I liked the least. I am not a huge fan of overly sweet things. My tastes tend to lean towards the savory. So when you get Cacao type smoothie mixes two things can happen. One they will be very sweet and it will feel like you are drinking a milkshake.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of milkshakes. However, if I drink something that tastes like a milkshake for lunch it will feel like I am just having dessert. My brain will not think of it as lunch and a little while later i will think, ‘Wow that was a nice treat, but I better have some actual lunch now.’ and I will over eat.
the second thing that can happen with chocolate themed smoothies is they can become chalky. I think to make them healthy a lot of healthy smoothie mixes will reduce the amount of cocoa fat too much and they become chalky that way. At least that’s my theory.
Neither of those things happened with this smoothie. There is a chocolaty taste which is quite nice. There is also a banana taste which is quite nice. And actually it is more banana forward than chocolate. There is a nuttiness to the mix and underneath is a light vegetal note. It is this note that makes it feel like a meal rather than a milk shake. I know it sounds strange but the mix really works well together. It is actually quite delicious.
Smoothie Box has really managed to get the mix right with this one. And what a mix it is. Let’s look at the ingredients list shall we?
Organic Bananas and Banana Puree, Organic Zucchini, Organic Kale, Cacao Chips, Organic Coconut Water, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Coconut Cream, and Organic Cacao Nibs and Cacao Powder
Together the elements simply work. It tastes like a banana chocolate smoothie with a nutty back note, the vegetables only balancing it to remove some of the sweetness and make it feel more like a meal.
Well not only taking the sweetness. All of the elements are good for you and work towards making this a very nutritious meal. According to the ingredient break out:
Organic Bananas and Banana Puree: High in aspartic acid which helps every cell in the body work. It plays a role in hormone production and release and normal nervous system function.
Organic Zucchini: Zucchini is rich in vitamin B6. This vitamin can help with regulating blood glucose which plays a protective role against diabetes.
Organic Kale: Kale contains several antioxidants that help the body remove unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental pressures.
Cacao Chips :To efficiently package ingredients we mix several ingredients together and then freeze them into a smoothie chip. This allows us to include beneficial ingredients like coconut cream, cacao nibs, and other fun ingredients.
Organic Coconut Water: High in electrolytes which are minerals that help your body carry out a variety of vital functions, such as hydration, muscle contractions, pH balance, and nerve signalling.
Organic Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, magnesium, protein, and linoleic fatty acids which may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
Organic Coconut Cream: Rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and other B vitamins. These vitamins are good antioxidants which help fight free radicals and thereby reduce the risk of most major diseases.
Organic Cacao Nibs and Cacao Powder: Cacao in any form is exceptionally rich in antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Cacao has been linked to reduced heart disease and diabetes risk.
Bigger is not always better. Sometimes it helps to go small, especially when you are trying to do portion control. Recently I picked up a set of bowls from Target’s Threshold collection that have proven to be absolutely fantastic additions to my kitchen and helpful in maintaining my portion control.
I do like the design (and they do come in several colors), however it’s main benefit is it’s size. This bowl holds eight ounces of liquid perfectly. It isn’t filled to the very brim, there is a space left at the top so you don’t slosh over the sides, but it is designed to hold eight ounces of liquid comfortably.
This makes it perfect for a cup of soup at lunch time. It keeps bowls of cereal and even pasta in check. It’s eight ounce size makes it easy to figure out exactly how much I am portioning out, even if i don’t feel like weighing out food on the scale or measuring it with a measuring cup.
It’s shape is also a benefit as well. Because it is round, it feels like it is deeper than it is and that it is holding more than it is. One of my favorite afternoon snacks is about four ounces of yogurt measured out of one of those large containers. Sometimes finding the measuring cup takes a bit more time then I am willing to give my afternoon snack. Because I know how full the half a cup of yogurt makes the bowl it is easy to figure out without hunting down a measuring cup.
And some days easy is better.
The shape of the bowl always makes me feel as though I am getting more though. In a bigger bowl, four ounces feels like a small amount. In this bowl four ounces feels like quite a lot. It makes my brain think that i am giving myself an extra large treat instead of skimping myself on a snack. And to be honest, sometimes tricking yourself helps.
I also like the way the shape of the bowl fits into my hands. These were relatively inexpensive bowls to pick up, $5 for a set of two, and they have more than proven their value and earned a spot in my kitchen. These stoneware bowls are dishwasher safe and microwave safe. Although if you do use them in the microwave they can get really hot so get a pot holder or towel handy to take them out.
In my kitchen I tend to keep what works and what I use, while letting go of the rest. There simply isn’t storage space to keep every kitchen Item I want to try out. There have been quite a few things that seemed like a good idea at the time, were used for a little while and then ended up donated to my local charity shop. These bowls however, will be staying with me for quite some time. Their size makes them useful in the kitchen and amazing at helping me stay on track with my portion control. Way to go Threshold and Target.