Snacktime: No Cow Protein Bar Lemon Meringue Pie

As I am sure i have mentioned before, snacktime is for me, one of the best ways to keep on track with my diet. A small snack around two in the afternoon really helps. I can convince myself to have a lighter lunch because I know I’m getting a little treat later in the afternoon and it keeps me from being too hungry at dinner time. My biggest dietary problem is portion control. I generally eat good foods and cook most of my meals at the house, I just some times eat bigger portions than I should. Snacks help me control my portions.

Part is because of the calories they impart, but part is psychological. I make sure that while the snack i choose has limited calories (I try not to go too far over a hundred) it is also something that is a tasty treat so that I feel like I’ve been bad, even when I haven’t.

With protein bars, you really have to watch the calories, for example this No Cow Lemon Meringue Pie Protein bar that I am trying today has 190 calories in it so I knew going in that I would only be eating half today and half tomorrow. In general I like to slice the bar in half and only talk half with me while the other half ends up in a zip top bag for the next day.

Now I am not a vegan and I am not a vegetarian. I do limit my meat intake to at most once a week (technically red meat we only eat maybe once a month at this point, but we eat fish once a week). My lunches are almost always vegetarian and at least three dinners a week are vegetarian. I love both cheese and charcuterie but i do limit them and make sure when i do indulge I go for higher quality.

The best way to get me to try anything is to make it lemon meringue pie flavored. To be honest I saw the bar in the rack at the grocery and thought “I’m low on snacks, oh Lemon Meringue Pie flavor, you shall be mine.” And then it ended up in the cart. When I put the groceries away i noticed the No Cow part and realized there was no dairy in them. Then I tried to recall if dairy was normal. Then I realized that in bar format I tend to go for the Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bar which is of course not vegan because of the honey but has no dairy in it, but isn’t a protein bar either. Then I spiraled down a protein bar/dairy internet rabbit hole that I suggest you avoid.

The end result is that I love lemon meringue pie. It is my favorite desert and if you can give me something sweet and tart and reminiscent of that decadent dessert then I don’t care if it is vegan or not. So let’s take a look at the No Cow Protein Bar shall we?

According to the website it is…

Dairy Free, 22g Plant Protein, 1g Sugar, 18g Fiber, 190 Calories, Certified Gluten-Free and Kosher, Non-GMO Project Verified, Soy Free, Vegan, Made with pea and rice protein, stevia, and monk fruit, A perfect balance between tangy lemon and a slice of meringue pie. WE threw in some pea protein crisps for added texture too. Try not to salivate., Sweet as pie … high protein, low sugar pie. No Cow. No Bull. No Whey!™

No Cow

Taking the bar from the pack, it looks and feels like it is made with playdoh. It has the exact same texture as if I rolled a piece of playdoh in my hands to make a snake. it does have a pleasing lightly lemon/graham cracker scent to it which I thought was a good start. Biting into it is a bit like biting into a Fig Newton.

Does it taste of tangy lemon? Is it sweet as pie? No.

Chewing it it remains a fig newton like consistency but it tastes like sand. You know how when you go to the beach occasionally you get sand in your mouth? Delete the grittiness, but keep the taste. Add a slight hint of lemon, as though while you had a mouth full of sand a lemon went rolling by on the beach in front of you and you have the flavor of this bar.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Now I knew it wasn’t going to taste exactly like pie. I understand the low sugar aspect. But I figured the worst that would happen would be that it would taste just of lemons. I like lemon, so that wouldn’t be bad.

This was like a cruel joke.

Again, I may not be vegan but I have had plenty of yummy tasting vegan snacks. this simply wasn’t one of them. They should have at least been able to make it taste like lemon. Normally I like to look for the redeeming qualities in something, because most things do have them. I honestly can’t find the plus. It wasn’t good on any level.

Packing something with good for you things only works if you can make it taste good enough to eat. I couldn’t even get through the half that I earmarked for today’s snack. No Cow was a major disappointment.

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Snacktime: Super Smoothie Green with Apple from Smoothie Box

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.

out of the bag (pre blending)

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.

Smoothie Box

And each serving is 80 calories.

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.

Snacktime: Super Smoothie Berry from Smoothie Box

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.

Snacktime: Super Smoothie Clementine from The Smoothie Box

Recently Smoothie Box sent one of their Smoothie Boxes over to me for the purpose of review. The full review of the box can be found here. This is a review of the individual smoothie, Clementine. As always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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.

today’s add in

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.

Smoothie Box

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.

Snacktime: Verb Energy Salted Peanut Butter Bar

As everyone knows by now, I tend to have a snack in the mid-afternoon as part of my attempt to stay on track with my meal plan. The thing is with dinner, I often make several extra portions and then either plan to have left overs the following day or we will freeze the extra portions for a meal on a day when things are too hurried to cook.

I find this helps me when things get crazy. I like knowing that if all else fails I have healthy meal that just needs to be thawed out .

All of this planning can go haywire though if I decide that maybe instead of just my portion, I’ll have a portion and a half. this is where the small snack comes in. A small snack can make me feel like I don’t need more than my portion size. It can also make me feel as though I have had a treat.

Now, from previous posts I think all of you know I also love variety packs.

So with the Verb Energy bars, I went and ordered the trial pack from Verb Energy. It has four bars in it, each a different flavor. For this it was especially important for me to be able to try all of the flavors. Mostly because I had no idea what the Verb energy Bars would taste like.

Here is what I knew. The Verb energy bars are: gluten free, vegan certified and Non- GMO. They have 90 calories and as much caffeine as an espresso. Each pack of twelve costs $19.95. There were bundles where there were a few different flavors included, but it seems like you really would just have to order a twelve pack of the same flavor. Which makes knowing what flavor I like before I order an even more important thing.

Ninety calories is well within my snack time caloric budget and there are plenty of afternoons where an extra hit of caffeine would be appreciated. So I ordered the trial pack. This sampler is a four pack containing four different flavors. Oddly enough when I went back to the site I couldn’t find it. I think that might be because I had to create an account to order the trial packet and so the site records that I’ve already ordered it. It did show that you could get a trial four pack of each flavor though. The links in this post are just to the general Verb energy Site. They aren’t affiliate links. I just came across this and it looked like something interesting to try.

o as with all trial packets, I am going to try one at a time and offer my thoughts on the bar.

it broke as I was taking it out of the package

The first bar I chose was the Salted Peanut Butter. The bar is the perfect size for a mid-afternoon snack. It was surprisingly soft. I think looking at the pictures I expected it to be a harder consistency. i don’t mind the soft texture, I was just surprised.

This salted peanut butter bar tasted exactly like a no bake peanut butter cookie. It tasted like peanut butter mixed with oats. It isn’t bad but it was somewhat rich. It made me, oddly enough, want to eat it with a cup of coffee. While it wasn’t salty to taste, I found that while I was drinking it I became incredibly thirsty. According to the label the ingredients are…

Ingredients: Gluten-Free Oats, Organic Agave, Peanuts, Organic Crisp Brown Rice, Organic Quinoa, Organic Light Brown Sugar, Natural Flavors, Vanilla Extract, Organic Green Tea Caffeine, Pink Himalayan Salt

It isn’t a bad ingredient list, in fact I rather like it. But it was incredibly rich, made me very thirsty and tasted exactly like a no bake peanut butter cookie. I wanted either a glass of clod milk or a cup of black coffee to balance it out.

I think that this flavor is just not for me. In concept, the flavor should be fine for me, but in reality it falls short. I like the ingredients list though. I like the calories and the concept of a caffeinated afternoon snack. I just don’t think this flavor works for me. I still have three more flavors to try so hopefully one of them will be more to my taste. But I can definitely cross the Salted Peanut Butter from Verb Energy off of my list of snack time treats. I will not be reordering it.

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Snacktime: Babybel Mini Original

Welcome to this week’s snack time. This week I went with a tried and true. That’s right I picked up a net of the Babybel minis. There are quite a few flavors but I went with the original. It is a snack I know a lot of you out there are familiar with. I know, it isn’t a high toned cheese. There is nothing fancy about this. In fact most people I know who purchase them, tend to purchase them for children.

And it is easy to see why. It is a mild tasting semi soft cheese. There is nothing challenging about the flavor and, let’s face it, it is fun to eat. Just look at it. It is a round of cheese sealed in red wax. You pull the tab and bisect the wax revealing the cheese.

When I was little I used to pretend I was a giant let loose in a cheese warehouse.

Yup, those are Marvel themed wrappers on the cheese.

Truthfully, I hadn’t given these little cheeses much thought in the past years. My tastes in cheese tend to run to the sharp and pungent. I love the tang of blue cheese and the funk of goat cheese. I actually did a little happy dance when I found out that igourmet had the Montcheve truffle infused goat cheese back in stock. I mean seriously, the funk of goat cheese melded with the contrasting and complementing truffle? They even have a truffle cheese assortment available now. I’ve had the goat cheese from this set but not the rest. And oh yes, they are going on my list to try. Yum.

However once I started building a small snack into my meal plan, these cheeses came swimming back to my attention. The first thing I liked was that they are self contained. I can not be trusted with a large wedge of cheese mid afternoon. If I am going to have something like a sliver of camembert or a chunk of goat cheese, I need to separate the small piece out the night before, weigh it and make sure it is individually wrapped otherwise I will over eat.

Sometimes it is good to know yourself.

So I bought a bag to try. I figured why not. Each little wheel contains 70 calories and 5g of protein. And the ingredients list? Three items: Pasteurized cultured milk, salt and microbial enzymes. the three basic things needed to make cheese and nothing extra added.

It has a mild flavor. It is creamy rather than sharp and when all is said and done, it was quite yummy. One wheel was enough to keep me satisfied mid-afternoon, it didn’t break my calorie count and it didn’t contain a lot of extraneous junk in the ingredients list.

It is a good little snack to keep me on track in the afternoons. Would I put it on a cheese board? Probably not. It isn’t that kind of cheese and it doesn’t pretend to be. It has marvel characters on the wrapper and the tag on the bag talks about winning a Marvel backpack. I am clearly not the target audience. But the little wheel was satisfying to open and to eat. Most importantly it let’s me maintain my portion size at dinnertime so I stay right on track. And that is what my snacktime is designed to do. So I am calling this one a win.

And yes, I still pretended that I was a giant on a rampage through a cheese warehouse.