A cup of tea with the Queen of Kyoto

This is the tea that came in the Magic Hour Tea Subscription this month. To be honest I am not entirely certain if it is April or May’s box as there was no identifying card in the box. This is the full sized container that can make up to 70 cups of tea.

This month’s tea was the Queen of Kyoto. It’s description is very intriguing actually….

As you sip this tea, you will be transported to a dreamlike landscape of the Rising Sun, where ancient traditions and natural beauty converge in perfect harmony. Allow yourself to be swept away by the delicate medley of fruit and flower essences, and savor the beauty and complexity of this exquisite tea blend.

Full Ingredients: Sencha Green Tea from Kyoto, Jasmine Blossoms, Organic Roses, Organic Dried Apricots, Organic Freeze Dried Cherries, Organic Raw Cherry Powder, Natural Flavor Extracts.

When I unstoppered the jar, the most mouthwateringly delicious scent wafted up from the jar. The tea smelled juicy and sweet. It smelled a little tart as well. I can’t lie it was a scent that made me actually hungry. which is very unusual for a tea.

While I like tea in general, I love it as a replacement for an afternoon snack. This tea, at least my scent seemed to be tailor made for that use. And so I brewed a cup.

And I used my favorite tea cup. It is from the Victoria and Albert Museum shop. I adore Alice in Wonderland and fell in love with the tea set so I am using the items as weight loss rewards. As i reach each weight loss goal I get to add another piece to the collection. Thus far i have added the cup and saucer and a set of tea spoons. I am coming up on my next weight loss goal and am debating between the teapot and the cream pitcher and sugar bowl set.

But that is beside the point. I just love the set so much, plus the V&A museum shop is fantastic. I am thinking the William Morris Travel coffee cup may be my birthday gift to myself this year. But back to the tea.

I filled a reusable silicone tea bag. It is one of the few we have designed for single cup loose tea which is why I used it. It isn’t the best for this blend. That particular tea bag works best for tea that is just made up of leaves. Whether black tea or herbal it works well. When something that isn’t a leaf is mixed in it doesn’t work it’s best.

Still it worked well enough and I will be making a full pot later with a different strainer.

The tea itself was a pale color. With Cherry and green tea as part of the makeup, I didn’t really expect a dark brew. The sweetness of the cherries really came through as did the juiciness and the tartness. The tea was sweet enough that it did not need any sugar or honey added to it. which was nice as it allowed me to avoid adding those calories and just concentrate on the tea. While I did enjoy the first few sips of just tea I did find myself wanting just a tiny drop of cream. which I ended up adding. It was less than a teaspoon but for me it did wonders for the brew. The tiny drop of cream added a richness to the sweet/tart tea that I think made it absolutely fabulous.

Would i drink this on it’s own? Yes. it is a fabulous tea and I am going to enjoy every cup out of this jar. But I love that I can take it to a different dimension with just a tiny touch of cream. It is a delicious tea with no cream. But it feels sinfully decadent with just that tiny touch. It takes very little for that tiny touch but when replacing an afternoon snack, it is well worth the addition.

Monthly Magic Tea Subscriptions

Snacktime: Vital Proteins Collagen Water Strawberry Lemon

I am a person who always likes to have a beverage by them. I have a cup of water on my night stand and generally a water bottle within reach. Occasionally I will add things like lemon and cucumbers to my water, but for the most part i stick to drinking water.

The reason is very simply that if I didn’t I would drink my calories.

It is one of the first things that I noticed when I started calorie counting. Because I drink so much liquid in a day the calories were really adding up. Switching so that almost all of my beverages are water knocked out a whole bunch of calories from my list and made calorie counting so much easier.

Still occasionally I do like to branch out. Because I know myself I tend to put any non water drink in the snack category rather than in the drink one. And by non-water I mean anything that has calories in it.

This Vital Proteins Collagen Water in the flavor strawberry Lemon has 60 calories. It also has 10 g of collagen and 3 g of sugar.

When drinking it I can taste the strawberry and I can taste the lemon. It is not really sweet. To be honest, I don’t mind that. I cut out a lot of sugar from my diet (a huge hunka chunk of it was in the beverages I was drinking). In general though I am not a sweets person. I tend to lean much more towards savory. this had enough sweetness so that it wasn’t bitter. It tastes sort of like watered down strawberry and lemon juice.

Which is sort of what it is.

I like that they didn’t add artificial sweeteners. I actually had that issue with something a few weeks back. I picked up a hazelnut creamer with zero sugar and I thought, oh it will be creamy and nutty but not sweet. It was in fact overly sweetened with sugar substitutes and I just couldn’t take it.

I enjoy the less sweet drink. It is in fact a nice break from water. And because I do now think of non-water as a snack, it feels like a treat. Just a little something out of the ordinary to try out.

Then there is the collagen. I know collagen is good for a whole much of things and as we age we produce less of it. I’m not entirely certain consuming it does anything, Every time I find one article that says consuming it is good for you, I will find another one that says when you drink it, the collagen just passes through your body. I think it would be nice if it did something. i would be happy if it did something. And while I haven’t found any conclusive articles, no one has said it does anything bad. So I figure either it does nothing or it does something, but either way it isn’t bad for me.

And it tastes pretty good.

With 60 calories I am willing to purchase the occasional bottle of Vital Proteins Collagen Water when I need a break from regular water. The flavor is good and it isn’t overly sweet. It tastes exactly like what is advertised. For me, that is a win for a snack time variation.

Snack Time with Harvest Snaps Baked Red Lentil snacks Sour Cream and Onion Crunchy Loops

That’s right it is snack time once again. For me snack time is important. The right snack can keep me from overeating at dinner. It can also provide the thrill of having a treat.

Today the treat was all about the crunch. Somedays you just need to chomp down on something crunchy. And boy are these crunchy.

I picker up the Harvest Snaps Baked Red Lentil snacks crunchy Loops in sour cream and onion because I tried a harvest Snaps treat and really liked it. Those were the baked pea pod treats (various flavors, I’ve tried several and liked them all). So I decided to give the red lentils a try.

I knew from the bag they would be loops so I thought they would be like fried onion rings. Except baked. Which they sort of are. Somehow I expected them to be lighter and filled with air bubbles, which they aren’t. These are quite dense crunchy treats.

When opening the bag, the scent is very sour cream and onion potato chip. It is a very familiar scent. I was expecting them to taste a bit like Sour cream and onion potato chips because of the scent. They don’t, not really.

There is the onion powder flavor but then somehow with the red lentils and whatever provides the sour cream scent blending, it tastes kind of buttery. It is a very oniony and buttery extra crispy snack. I really enjoyed the buttery flavor once i got over the surprise. I found them quite delicious and as far as satisfying crunch goes, these are kind of aces.

The bag holds three and a half servings. Each serving is 22 loops and has 130 calories. That pile there is 22 loops measured out, which seems like quite the substantial serving. By the time I made my way through them my urge to crunch was satiated.

I really enjoyed these Red lentil Crunchy Loops from Harvest snap. My one complaint has to be with the bag. They have three and a half servings in them but there is no way to reseal the bag when you have taken your portion out You have to roll the bag down and find a clip or a clothes’ pin or something to keep it closed. It is a little thing, but it does kind of annoy me. It is the sort of thing that gets left off of a bag because the manufacturers expect you to eat the entire bag in one sitting regardless of the serving size on the back.

Which I have to admit, is very easy to do. Once it is open it looks like it should be a single serving because it isn’t designed to be closed again. Since my continuing diet and exercise plan requires me to look at the nutrition labels it was clear to see. A portion size is enough for me, I just have to remember not to eat from the bag. It would be far to easy to just gobble the entire bag in one sitting.

Other than that minor packaging annoyance, these are a fins snack and one I will indulge in again, especially when I am in the mood for a really great crunch.

Snacktime with Teriyaki Balboa from Righteous Felon

Snack time is one of those ways I keep my diet on track and so it is is very important to me. A small mid afternoon snack keeps me from over eating at dinner. And as long as I watch my calorie count I can often use that time to indulge in just a little treat that perhaps I shouldn’t eat a whole heaping bunch of.

I should also let it be known that I have a weakness for beef jerky.

Perhaps it was too much time spent on the road. I don’t know but it does hold a special place in my heart. And while I will occasionally flirt with the sticks it is the jerky pieces that I gravitate to the most. (Admittedly the Street Taco Sticks are now one of the exceptions.)

I also love Teriyaki flavoring on my beef jerky. So when I saw that Righteous Felon had a new Teriyaki flavor I added it to my last order to try out.

Righteous Felon is really good for minimally processed jerky that has only the good stuff that you want in a snack with non of the bad stuff. Which trust me there are many products out there really pumped full of preservatives and chemicals. I try to keep my intake of those to a minimum.

And if fabulous treats weren’t enough Righteous Felon is part of the Conservation alliance and a part of the proceeds from the purchase of this Teriyaki Balboa went to help protect North American Wild Places.

It is worth noting that the flavor description says Tangy Teriyaki with a punch of pepper. For me the pepper punched a little too hard. This starts out with that tang of teriyaki which goes so well with the earthiness of jerky, but then the pepper comes on a bit strong and overwhelms the tang that I really enjoy.

My babydoll who loves pepper crusted everything really enjoyed this and he did put it on the list to be ordered next time. I am not as big a black pepper fan as he is so when we do order the next box the Teriyaki balboa will be all his. I don’t mind as it does mean more Darth Garlic for me.

Not every flavor is going to be for every one. And what a boring world it would be if we all liked and ate only the same things. In the end this is a quality beef jerky it is just a little too pepper forward for my personal tastes. It won’t go to waste, but it isn’t gong to make my favorite’s list.

Snacktime: Righteous Felon Street Taco Inspired Craft Jerky

That’s right my darlings it is snack time once again. For me to stay on track and not reach dinner time starving and ready to eat far more than what I know my allotted portion should be, I need an afternoon snack. Now here is the thing. I always make sure there are minimal limitations on my snacks.

The one real limitation is that I try to stick to under 150 calories. I prefer around 130, but I don’t want to go over 150 at all for my afternoon snack. This calorie range makes me feel like I am getting something substantial, and when I start to make dinner I am not snacking on some of the ingredients as I cook and thus adding unknown calories to my plate.

Snacking is actually one of the most useful dieting tools I have come up with. One snack with 150 or less calories in it. That it my only restriction. I know some of you are thinking, well if those are the only restrictions then what’s to stop you from reaching for really bad candies and other empty calories?

Oddly enough, i did worry about that when I first started adding the snack in. Then I realized it is almost self regulating. Around Easter one of my favorite treats are marshmallow peeps. I don’t know if you have ever looked at the container but a box of five is listed as one serving and the calorie count on that is 140 cal. which means it technically fits. And there will be at least one time every spring where I will roll in a box of peeps and call it a snack.

I will only do it once a year though. Not because it is a special treat, but because after that one treat my stomach really doesn’t want to take in that much sugar again for a whole other year. I don’t feel satisfied, I feel vaguely ill. After a while of snacking, i will find myself reaching for things that I know are good for me even if the junk stuff is available simply because that is the stuff that I want.

So snacktime is anything I want to eat that will fill me up in a way that makes me feel satisfied but has less than 150 calories. After a while of doing this you learn what falls into that category and what doesn’t and automatically reach for the things that have the right calorie count but won’t satisfy you until dinner. At least with me. it did take a while and occasionally something sneaks through but for the most part. Once I start paying attention I will crave an apple over a sugary sweet.

But sometimes, my body wants meat. We generally have one meal per week that uses meat (and it is usually a weekend thing and often it is in the colder weather, fish and chicken dominate the warmer months for our ‘meat’ meals). Occasionally though I just get a meat craving and when i do I want to make sure that I go with good quality items.

I have been ordering from Righteous Felon for a while. Their quality is top notch. I tend to stick to the pouches of meat snacks so I can measure out what I actually want to eat in that moment. This is my first stick from them. Even though it is only 100 calories per stick I generally find myself satisfied with only about half of the stick. But with the sticks I will eat the whole thing.

Recently Righteous Felon released some new flavors. I added a couple of them to my order this time and I could not resist the Street Taco Inspired Al Pastor and Pineapple Pork stick. It has 100 calories only 4 g of sugar and a full 8 g of protein. I generally find that protein really helps me fell fuller longer when I use it as a snack.

I know I could go the protein bar route, and sometimes I do, but a lot of the protein bars are just too sweet for me. This is not sweet. It does have a little sweet tang from the pineapple, but it also has a little bit of a spicy heat. the heat is mild. The spices don’t make it spicy, they make it spiced. and it is spiced exactly like a really good al pastor taco.

It is delicious and the only thing wrong is that it makes me look around to see where the chips and guacamole ran off to. It is fully flavored and tastes exactly like what it is, pork with pineapple and al pastor seasonings. It is a winner. The flavor is great, the protein is enough to keep me going and to let me prepare dinner without snacking on the elements as I cook and the calories are sitting at a lovely 100.will this unseat Darth Garlic as my go to Righteous Felon treat? Probably not, but it will be added to the list of Items I will purchase again on my next order.

Snack Time: Harvest Snaps Baked Green Pea Snacks Parmesan and Roasted Garlic

For me snacks are an essential part of my dieting journey. I think it is because when I make dinner, I often make enough so that we have left overs (especially ones that will freeze so that on days when I am too busy to cook we can just take them out and thaw). The trick with preparing more than one portion at a time though, is portion control

And quite honestly, portion control is my biggest dieting weakness. It is something I struggle with, but it is also something I have to balance with scheduling. Sometimes those left overs come in really handy.

Hence the importance of snacking. Having a small snack in the middle of the day (2-3 pm) really helps with reminding me to stick to my portion control and not get ‘just a little bit more’ simply because I made a big pan of whatever we happen to be eating for dinner.

My rules for snacking are fairly simple. I try to aim for as close to 100 calories as possible but try never to go over 150. It has to be tasty and satisfying.

And that is it. Really. it is the only limit that I put on the snack. And I know that sounds strange, but here is why. If I keep that calorie count in check, even if the snack is something more decadent than I would normally allow myself, it helps to keep me on track. It feels like I have been naughty. As a result I not only tend to work a little harder in my workouts, but I also have it in the back of my mind that I ned to keep a close reign on my dinner portion because of the decadent treat I had earlier in the day.

It is, in the end more of a mental thing which, the longer I work on building a healthy lifestyle the more i realize hw much of it is mental. (often in more ways than one). So I trick myself. But it only works if the treat is satisfying and feels like a treat. Choosing a snack that makes me feel like I am trying to be virtuous will actually backfire and make me feel like I ought to et more at dinner.

So did this ‘treat’ hit the spot?

Actually, it did.

The Harvest Snaps Baked Green Pea Snacks come in many flavors. As I love both Parmesan and Roasted Garlic, this is the flavor I went for. I also have to admit that I adore peas. I grow them every year and if I could get the entire garden planted in them, I would.

When the bag is opened there is a strong parmesan and garlic scent to the bag. I was worried it would overwhelm the pea flavor, but it didn’t There was a distinct pea flavor to them. I would perhaps like a touch less garlic so that the pea flavor stands out more, but that really is just nitpicking.

I found these Harvest Snaps absolutely delicious. They are baked instead of fried, which I like and they do have only 130 calories per serving. I really like the fact that it breaks down how many peas are in a serving (about 22) While i do have a scale and weigh things out a lot, I do like knowing that if I am rushed then I can just count quickly and skip the scale.

For me it was necessary to measure out the snacks as I would happily sit and eat the entire bag. They are a salty, savory crispy treat and they really feel like a treat for the taste buds. I felt the same sort of decadence as I would eating my favorite flavor of potato chip. As I am not a huge fan of baked potato chips, preferring just the regular chips, I was a little surprised that they felt just as satisfying as the regular chips. I also like that they are available from a wide variety of stores, from Kroger to Publix to amazon and their own website. So I can easily pick them up no matter where I shop. there is a wider variety on line than at my store though, so I may be poking around to see what other delights are offered, taste wise. I dod really like the Parmesan and Roasted garlic though. it was quite yummy.

I very much enjoyed these Harvest Snaps and will certainly be getting more of them in the future.

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Snacktime: Darth Garlic Biltong from Righteous Felon Craft Jerky

I am a big garlic fan. So when I saw this i knew I had to try it. And to be fair this is my absolute favorite flavor that I’ve tried. It is a biltong style rather than a regular beef jerky. To be fair that is the one thing that I would change, I would make this in the same style as the other jerkies Righteous Felon produces. I will still eat it as a biltong, but I prefer the texture of their other craft jerkies while still loving the flavor of this one.

For those who don’t know, Biltong is a little different from regular jerky. First of all it is cured with vinegar which is very different from regular jerky (and why I know I couldn’t actually get the same flavor if it were actual jerky, and really it is just a textural preference.). It is cut slightly thicker because it is air dried and it is never smoke dried so it doesn’t have that smokiness many other jerky products will have. I also find it to be a little drier and less ‘juicy’ I suppose you would say, compared to the Righteous Felon Jerky I’ve tried.

I know the process creates both the flavor and the texture. The texture is okay, I will certainly still eat it, but the flavor is fantastic so I will always order it. If that makes sense. It helps that I adore black garlic as well as regular garlic.

The ingredients list for Darth Garlic is very straightforward: Beef, red wine vinegar, salt, ground corriander, black garlic, rosemary, pepper and monk fruit.

It is a simple and very delicious list. My biggest problem is that because it is in smaller pieces, I tend to eat this one from the bag rather than measure my portions out so I almost always eat the entire bag in one sitting instead of breaking it into portions. Which as each serving of this is 80 calories it still ends up only being a 180 calorie snack when I do.

Actually what is fun, now that I’ve understood that once i open the bag, i am eating the whole bag, I tend to have this as a snack when i am having a smaller portion size dinner or one that is veg heavy when it is cold and I am really craving something much more high caloric than I am going to eat. The Darth Garlic not only leaves me feeling as though i had a decadent treat, but because I ate the whole bag I feel like I have over done it on the “treat” of the day and therefore I feel more satisfied with the lighter dinner.

I know, mental trickery. Sometimes it is the best way to deal with your brain when you are dieting. It is as much a mental game as it is a physical one.

As for taste, there is the tang of the red whine vinegar, which is both enhanced and sweetened by the almost balsamic taste of black garlic. The coriander and black pepper help balance out that tang. I am not entirely certain what monk fruit tastes like. I keep looking for it at my local grocery because I know it is often used as a sweetened in food products, but I would like to see what flavor it has on it’s own besides just sweet.

And that is primarily because of products like this Darth Garlic. I am fairly certain there is another flavor in there. There is a light sweetness to the back of the taste and I think that is from the monk fruit, but I think that additional taste is from the monk fruit as well. Mostly because I can’t place the flavor.

It always annoys me when i can’t place a flavor. This is also the reason i have the tendency to bring weird and wonderful things home from the grocery when i see them.

But that is another story.

If you are looking for a savory beef snack without heat but a deep and delicious flavor, I’d suggest giving Darth Garlic from Righteous Felon a try. it is one of my absolute favorites from all of the items i have tried. And it is the one I will reorder every time i place an order with them.

Snacktime with Habanero Escobar from Righteous Felon Craft Jerky

Today I am trying one of my babydoll’s favorite snack treats from Righteous Felon. It is the Habanero Escobar Craft Jerky. What is kind of funny is that this jerky has been in the box we order every time we have ordered from Righteous Felon. It was the first one my babydoll wanted to try once i told him i found a new potential beef jerky source I wanted to try.

Yet this is the first time I have managed to actually try a piece. As soon as the box is opened these disappear into my babydoll’s stash. even with this one I told him I was going to try a piece and he gave me this hound dog look as though I had stolen his treat. I promised him I would only try one piece.

And just so you know he made the shocked face when I took out two pieces for this picture. the largest one immediately went back in the bag and I handed the bag back to him. As you can see, there are pepper flacks on the jerky. It is the first warning that this is going to pack some heat.

Well technically the first clue is the package. This is the full ingredients list:

Beef, Water, brown sugar, soybeans, salt molasses, vinegar, black pepper, natural smoke flavorings, alcohol, habanero peppers, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper, paprika, cloves, chili powder

Now part of me just looks at the list and things, wow that isn’t a bad list. We often make jerky here at the house (when meat is on sale and not as expensive as it has been lately anyway). Much of the items on the list are things I would use for making our own jerky. Which makes me happy. Then I think about the heat that some of those items can bring. And I look at the flakes of spice on the meat.

And I brace for impact.

Actually it was an interesting flavor. And yes it does have flavor. It isn’t just a fire bomb in the mouth. There is sweet and spice and really good flavor. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of heat, but it builds slowly. There is a sweet smokiness to the heat that I really like. I am only likely to eat one to two pieces of this jerky though. While the heat isn’t a lot while I am eating it at the end there is a burst of heat. It is like it grows as you eat it and then when you swallow and open your mouth, the air rushes in and ignites the flame.

the heat blast doesn’t last a really long time. It is a nice pleasant heat and not a painful one. Here is the thing with me and spice. I like heat. I really do like spicy things, however I don’t like it when the heat takes over and the only thing that you can taste is heat. I like the heat to be an accompaniment to the flavor, not the only thing that i can taste. Habanero Escobar from Righteous Felon defiantly has the heat. It is not a mild tasting product. But it is a well flavored product. You will get the heat but you will also get flavor with that heat. And for me, that makes it a winner. Admittedly if i want it again I will have to order it without my baby knowing and hide it like contraband. Otherwise any package that comes in will automatically go into his special snack hideaway. Although truth be know I am okay with that. Getting him to eat a smaller portion of something like Habanero Escobar from Righteous Felon with all of its good ingredients in stad of some of his other snack choices is a win and I am am more than happy to cede the bags to him. I’ll just sneak a few here and there and maybe plan my own heist later.

Snacktime: Truffle-O Bill from Righteous Felon Craft Jerky

It is no secret, I love beef jerky. I don’t indulge a lot, or at least not as much as I used to, so when I go for beef jerky I like to make sure it is the best quality I can get. I came across the Righteous Felon Craft Jerky in my ever widening search for good products and I fell in love with the design of the bags and the tongue in cheek nature of all of the copy on their website.

For me, snack time is a huge dieting tool. i know that sounds strange, but a good quality, yet low calorie snack, especially if it is protein packed, can really help me not over eat at dinner. Each of these resealable bags has two portions which makes it easy to divide and easy to keep the second portion for a second day. And each portion is only about 60 calories.

While the snack does help keep me from overeating at dinner time, I do like to keep the calorie count low for my afternoon snack. My goal is to not really go too much over 100 calories. And truthfully if i go crazy with the portions and eat the entire bag it is only 120 calories so that too is still within an acceptable range. (I only really worry it is too much if I exceed 150.)

At this time of year i tend to order a lot because they are not only fantastic for during the work day snacks, they have become one of my favorite road trip snacks. Plus my babydoll and I each have our own favorites. And while i will be reviewing my favorites as I work through my recent stock up stash, today’s bag is a first use for me. I have always seen the Truffle-O Bill and liked the image and wanted to order, but then I always go for the flavors I know I love. This time I added in the bad to my order so I could try it.

And yes I justified trying it out by saying “I can review it, yeah that’s why I’m getting it…really…”

I know, sometimes I just lie shamelessly to myself.

As you can see the jerky comes in natural looking strips which I really like. The strips are soft and easy to chew. I know that sounds like a strange thing to say but I have tried several strips like this that are either like chewing on leather or shatter into meat shards in the mouth. This has the perfect amount of chew. It feels like you are eating something solid and tangible (which helps with my snacking to help with dieting plan, it feels satisfying to eat). It also feels like i am consuming way more than 60 calories worth of food which adds to the satisfying feeling.

I will admit i was worried that the truffle flavor would be too intensely truffle but it is just an flavor enhancement. This jerky has a nice smoky flavor with a slightly sweet tang and a sort of deeper meaty flavor that is brought out by the truffle. Which is one of the best features of truffle flavor. Too often people can go just truffle crazy instead of using it as an enhancement. This was the perfect enhancement. The molasses and brown sugar in the curing ingredients list is where the sweetness comes from and it is just enough of sweeteness without being too over the top.

I added this into my order this year because i wanted to try it out. I wasn’t sure about it because with me truffle can go either way. But this Truffle-O Bill was fantastic. And now I think I may have a new favorite to add to future orders. And I also want to branch out and try all of the flavors I haven’t yet gotten to. Luckily they have a bit of a discount on right now. I’ll list it below. It is well worth taking advantage of if you are stocking delicious, high quality snacks.

Free Bag of Biltong or Jerky If You Spend $5 with code BAGONUS2022

Criminally Crafted for the Unlawful Appetite

Snacktime with Quick Breaks

As we get into the holiday season gatherings start to happen and celebrational foods come out. the recipes deemed too high caloric to be included in the kitchen during the rest of the year are dusted off and used.

It doesn’t help that the cooler weather is here and in addition to wanting to feel warm and cozy there is the stress of holiday planning, whether rearranging your schedule to drive to family or risking life and limb to stock the fridge for the big meal.

Racing around to find the perfect gift, the perfect turkey and fighting the crowds that seemed to have multiplied and gone insane. Sometimes the insanity is over the last turkey of an appropriate size, other times over that year’s hottest toy.

Last year, I saw two older women almost come to blows over the last shrimp ring at the grocery on December 31st.

All of which helps justify the larger meals and richer foods.

One thing that I have found that really helps me out is having small ready made snacks available in my fridge during the season of feasting (no matter what series of holidays you celebrate). In the past I have gone into holiday gatherings thinking, ‘well this is the only time of year I get to enjoy this, so I might as well make the most of it and then get back to normal tomorrow.’

I have found the weight slipping back on easily with this method. I then work to get it back off, but i would rather not add it back in the first place. That is where the pre made snacks come in. sometimes I make them up myself and have the little containers in the fridge, and i probably will do that again this year. However I found these Quick Breaks at the grocery store and decided to give them a try. They had different varieties and all have the same 180 calorie contents.

This one I picked up has sharp yellow cheddar, dried cherry flavored cranberries and cashews. The cheddar is a decently sharp cheddar. It probably won’t be winning any awards but it is tasty and it works well with the other components. The cherry flavored cranberries are both sweet and tart. The cashews could have used a little more salt as they were slightly on the bland side, but they were tasty, and I can see why they wanted to limit the salt content.

All in all it was a good snack.

There were three packs of snacks in the container and the entire three pack kit costs $3.29.

While I will still often make my own small kits from items in my pantry, when time gets crunched and I need to make sure there is something in the fridge, I will certainly pick up these quick kits again. Having something like this that can take the edge off the hunger, lets me enjoy the richer more high caloric foods the season brings with a little bit more restraint. It lets me enjoy a smaller taste and it is much better for my waistline than going into a very heavy meal having not eaten all day. With a little something in my stomach I can enjoy without going off the rails. For me that makes these Quick Breaks from Food Lion well worth the price.