Coco Paradise Snack from Graze

cocoparadise

Photo from Graze.
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Ingredients:

milk chocolate drops, coconut flakes and cranberries

I received this snack in my February box from Graze.

Tea Suggestion:

I don’t usually pair similarly snacks with teas, but I decided to eat this snack with this Cranberry Black Tea from A. C. Perch.  I found that the cranberry snack really brought out the cranberry notes in the tea.  It was an interesting experiment!

What I Think:

Cranberry and coconut are two flavors that I wouldn’t think to mix, but I like them together.  The sweetness of the coconut softens the tart notes of the cranberry.

I like the texture of the coconut shred.  It almost reminds me of the coconut chips that I love from Dang, although they are a little less dry.  They have a little more moisture to them, and as a result, they’re a little less crisp than the coconut chips.  But they still have a really nice texture and I like the contrast to the snap of the coconut to the chewy cranberry and the creamy chocolate.

The chocolate is absolutely my favorite thing about this mix, and I’m glad that they didn’t skimp on the chocolate drops.

My Final Thoughts:

I “liked” this one.  It isn’t my favorite snack that I’ve gotten from Graze, but I do like the combination of chocolate, coconut and cranberry, and I wouldn’t mind getting this snack in the future.

Banana Split Baby Mama Drama from Mama’s Magic Mix

bananasplit

Photo from Mama’s Magic Mix website.
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Ingredients:

freeze dried bananas and strawberries, salted peanuts, caramel puffs & chocolate covered graham crackers

I received a pouch of this snack mix in my January Love with Food Box.

Tea Suggestion:

With this salty and sweet snack, I went with something light and crisp:  White Tea!  And one of my favorite White Teas as of late is this Makaibari Bai Mu Dan from Tea People.

What I Think:

This mix is not at all what I expected when I opened the package.  What I expected was granola, I suppose, although now that I read the package again I don’t know why it is that expected this to be granola because it doesn’t actually say granola anywhere on the package.

It’s a “mix” of dried fruit, nuts, crunchy graham cracker-y “cookie” like things that are coated with chocolate (although there were only 2 of these in the bag), and at the top of the pouch there were these “puffs” of sweetness that tasted a bit like a sweetened cereal.

I had about six of those tasty cereal puff things that sat right at the top of the package, and when I looked into the package when I first opened it, it appeared that these were the only thing in the package so I was surprised when I fished out a strawberry piece … and all the puffs were gone!  Had I known that there was more to the package than just those puffs I would have poured the mix into a bowl and saved some of those puffs for last because like I said, they were the tastiest part of this weird mix.

I enjoyed the individual ingredients of the mix.  The cereal puff things were tasty.  They were actually the tastiest part of this mix.  Then there was a layer of freeze dried strawberries and I liked those, as well as the three pieces of freeze dried banana.  The peanuts … were peanuts and they weren’t bad.  They weren’t really salty though, and I guess that’s what I missed there.  The chocolate coated cookie things were alright although they were a bit … lacking in something.

But overall, this … just seemed like a very disjointed sort of snack mix.  Nothing really seemed to work together.  Even the dried strawberries and bananas didn’t really seemed to work together and that always seems to be a classic fruit combination.  The peanuts just didn’t work in this.  I liked that the fruit was freeze dried because I do enjoy the light crispness of freeze dried fruit, but when combined with the peanuts and the other components … it just all seemed a bit like a jumbled mess.

My Final Thoughts:

This was alright.  It was edible.  Is this something I’d buy again?  No.  I found it to be a rather confusing combination of foods that didn’t really seem to go together at all.

Jalapeño Fiesta Snack from Graze

jalapenofiesta

Photo from Graze.
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Ingredients:

jalapeno peanuts, roasted sunflower seeds, salsa almonds and roasted pumpkin seeds

I received this snack in my February Graze box.

Tea Suggestion:

I suggest an iced tea with this selection, and have plenty on hand because it’s a spicy snack!  You’ll want to refresh the palate!  When I opened this tray, I had this Whisky & Cola Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas chilling in my fridge!  A nice way to cool the tongue after eating one of those jalapeño peanuts!

What I Think:

Spicy!  The peanuts have been seasoned with “jalapeño” flavoring (although the ingredient list says that it’s cayenne, I don’t see jalapeño in the complete ingredient list), and there are quite a few peanuts in this snack mix.  The almonds have been seasoned with a “salsa” flavoring, and while there are far fewer almonds in this mix, there are enough here to amp up the zesty flavor of the mix.

There are also sunflower seeds and pumpkin seed kernels in this mix, and they aren’t flavored except with a bit of soy sauce.  They need a little salt.  Yeah, I know soy sauce has a salty flavor to it, but, I would prefer a light salting over a soy sauce coating.

My Final Thoughts:

Overall, I didn’t hate this this nutty snack mix.  I don’t know that I enjoyed it enough to “like” it on my graze account.  It’s tasty enough, but I felt as though it really could have used more salt.  I’m not usually one who needs a lot of salt on things (unlike my husband who likes a little bit of food with his salt, it seems!) but this would have been better if it was a little saltier.  Because of this, I chose to “trash” this snack.  I didn’t hate it, but, I didn’t want to receive it again either.  I like the spicy elements, but I wanted a little more contrast.  Maybe some acid (how about lime seasoned pumpkin seeds?), and definitely some more salt.

Olive and Rosemary Bruschetta Snack Mix from Graze

oliverosemarybruschetta

Photo from Graze.
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Product Ingredients:

mini tomato breadsticks, rosemary and garlic cashews and kalamata olive croutons

I received this bruschetta snack mix in my first Graze Box!

Tea Suggestion:

I thought that a sweet, brothy green tea would be ideal to serve with this savory snack mix, so I chose this Konacha Green Tea from Aiya.  A really delicious pairing!

What I Think:

This is pretty tasty … certainly different!

The mini tomato breadsticks are really good.  I can taste the tomato and I love tomato!  The rosemary and garlic cashews add a nice texture and a yummy nutty taste to the overall mix, and I like the seasoning on the cashews.

The Kalamata olive croutons are probably my least favorite part of this mix, but I don’t dislike them.  I just find that it takes a couple of croutons – one after another – to really taste the Kalamata olive flavor.  I mean, I can taste the olive flavor, but, it seems to be a little obscured by the … I don’t know, maybe it’s the texture of it, because my mouth seems to want the olive texture when it tastes the Kalamata olives.  and instead it gets a hard, dry crouton.  I guess I just want a little something … different than the crouton to deliver the olive flavor.

My Final Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this snack mix … a really neat alternative to the typical snack cracker.  I don’t know that I’ll “like” this one though, I think I’ll wait and try some of Graze’s other savory selections before I put a “like” on this one.

Billionaire’s Shortbread Snack Mix from Graze

billionairesshortbread

Photo from Graze.
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Product Description:

fudge pieces, blanched almonds, milk chocolate drops and cranberries

I got this snack mix in my first Graze Box!

Tea Suggestion:

I went with a deliciously light, vibrant green tea to enjoy with this sweet “trail mix.”  The High Grade Dragon Well from Yezi Tea was an excellent choice.  The tea was refreshing and lightly grassy, and made a nice contrast to the sweet-tart cranberries.  The natural nutty flavors in the Dragon Well married deliciously with the blanched almonds, and the chocolate and fudge … well, they just made the tea time that much yummier!

What I Think:

I was so excited to start digging in to my snacks in my first Graze Box!  And of course the first snack I had to try has chocolate in it!

???????????????????????????????I was very interested in the Graze program when I first heard about it, mostly because I love trying gourmet foodie subscriptions like this, as well as the uniqueness of this particular program (You can’t get these mixes anywhere else … unless you make them yourself!) … but what else I really liked about this program was that the kind of snacks that it offers is exactly what I was looking for … something healthy to snack on while sipping on tea.  Because I drink a lot of tea.  A lot of it … and I like to find foods that are healthy and easy to snack on while I sip the tea.  Something tasty and preferably, something I didn’t have to make myself.  (Big bonus points for that one.)

This “trail mix” has four ingredients:  blanched almonds, dried cranberries, chocolate drops and fudge bits.  I would say that in my tray, all four ingredients were fairly represented.  I didn’t see like 75% of one ingredient, and scarce little bits of other ingredients.  ???????????????????????????????

It’s a tasty combination of flavors.  When each item is eaten individually, the ingredient I like least is the blanched almonds, mostly because they’re blanched almonds, and I prefer my almonds toasted, roasted, salted … but not so much blanched.  Even so, these aren’t that bad, especially if I happen to scoop up one of the other ingredients and pop both the almond and one other ingredient in my mouth at the same time and allow the flavors to meld together.  My personal favorite with the almond is the cranberry.

But what’s really delightful is if I pick up one of each item in the mix and pop all four ingredients in my mouth at the same time. The combination of these four ingredients at the same time is quite tasty.

The cranberry is tart and chewy.  The fudge is sweet and chewy.  The chocolate is sweet and creamy.  The almond is nutty.  It’s a tasty combination of sweet, tart, chewy and nutty with a hint of creaminess.

My Final Thoughts:

I liked this alright, but I don’t know if I like it enough to “like” it on the Graze website.   But I ‘am glad I tried it.  I like the size of these snack trays!  This is just the right amount of trail mix to satisfy me when I’ve got the munchies … it works great as a tea-time snack.

My Goodies Box for November has Arrived!

The box arrived on the afternoon of November 20th.  I was kind of surprised, really, because I have gotten used to the box arriving much closer to the end of the month… but it seems that with each month, the Goodies Box arrives just a little sooner than it did the month previous.  I’m OK with that.  They’re ironing out the kinks, and still managing to keep the price at just $7 per month.  I’ve been happy with this subscription.

The theme of this month’s box is “Entertaining Made Simple,” and while I don’t usually do much entertaining (I am agoraphobic, and I usually have trouble with one guest, more than one is positively anxiety-inducing!) I do enjoy the foods one might serve at a dinner party … as they make fantastic tea-time treats.

And, incidentally, this box does include a tea!  Granted, it’s bagged tea (Hey, Goodies Company, get in the know!  Loose leaf is the only way to go!) but it’s still tea.  Bigelow Tea’s Pumpkin Spice tea, to be precise.  I’ll be reviewing that tea on the SororiTea Sisters blog at some point!

The other goodies in this month’s box include:  American Vintage Wine Biscuits, Lotus Bakeries Smooth Biscoff Spread, Bobbysue’s Original Flavored Nuts, Pumpkin Souffle Mix from Flourless Bliss, White Cheddar Popcorn from Oogie’s, and a Dark Quinoa chocolate bar from Alter Eco.  Yum!  Looking forward to these yummy items … and they are all new-to-me!  Bonus!

And speaking of bonuses, this box did include a special bonus gift!  Upon opening the box, I was greeted immediately with a reusable, canvas shopping tote!  Wow!  The card insert that is included with every box explains:

We are grateful to have you as one of our first subscribers!  To show our thanks we are excited to gift you the enclosed Goodies Co. Farmer’s Market Bag.

Yay!  I do try to bring my stash of reusable bags every time I shop … sometimes, I forget, but, I do try.  And it will be nice to have yet another to add to my stash!  It will definitely be put to good use.

This is the best box from Goodies Co. yet!

Hazelnut Pancake Mix from Freddy Guys Hazelnuts

Product Description:

Hearty and healthy, these double nut pancakes are loaded with protein. No more starchy pancakes!

Learn more about Freddy Guys Hazelnuts here.

What I Think:

For the purposes of this review, I prepared a pancake according to the recipe (it’s really easy, just add an egg and milk), and ate it topped with just butter so that I could experience the pancake before adding additional toppings such as syrup, peanut butter or jam.

The pancakes fry up very fluffy and thick, but they are much heartier than a typical pancake because there are bits of chopped hazelnuts in the mix.  In addition to providing a heartier texture, they add a very pleasant crunch and a pleasant earthiness and sweetness to the pancake.  I also like that the pancake doesn’t taste overly sweet, allowing the natural sweetness of the hazelnut to shine through.

One cup of mix makes about 6 pancakes, and they are very substantial and hunger-satisfying, much more so than the typical buttermilk pancake.  Very good topped with maple or berry flavored syrup, but I like them best with my chai syrup that I make using brown sugar and a strong infusion of masala chai spices.

My Final Thoughts:

I love that this is a local product, and I especially love how delicious the pancakes are.  You can also make delicious, nutty waffles with this mix.  This mix can help you make an ordinary pancake breakfast something special!

Cornmeal Pancake & Muffin Mix from Nitty Gritty Grain Company

To learn more about this product and others from Nitty Gritty Grain Company, visit their website.

Product Description:

This mix has a robust corn flavor, thanks to a blend of two organic corns: Yellow dent and Wapsie Valley, a heritage variety. The coarse grind gives it an charmingly rustic, grainy texture with a satisfying tooth. The included recipes on the inside of the label are easy as pie (or, as the case may be, cornbread). Just mix, bake or griddle, and serve. Catherine recommends substituting water in the recipes with milk, yogurt or sour cream (or silken tofu as a vegan alternative) for additional richness. The cornbread and pancakes are a delicious breakfast, but also try them as a foundation for baked beans or Southern-style barbecue.

What I Think:

A day or two before my Foodzie Tasting Box arrived, I remember craving cornbread!  I had no idea that I would be receiving a cornmeal mix in my box, so it was either intuition or a strange coincidence.  Either way, I’m very surprised by what I’m tasting from this cornmeal mix!

I made six cornbread muffins (and I have enough mix left over to make another six muffins, or perhaps a few cornmeal pancakes, which is what I think I will end up making).  It’s easy to prepare:  measure out the mix, add a little water and oil (I actually used melted butter instead) and 1 beaten egg.  Stir until mix is wet (remember, don’t over-mix muffin batter!) and evenly distribute into a lightly greased muffin tin (or instead of lightly greasing, you can use cupcake liners for super easy clean up).

After measuring out the first three muffins, I decided to change things up a bit and I added a little bit of cheese (I used a Mexican blend of four cheeses), and a few jalapeño slices that I removed the seeds from and diced up fine.

The first three muffins were incredible.  The flavor is incredibly light and yet hearty in its own way.  Delicious corn flavor, slightly sweet and nutty.  While most cornbread tends to be rather dense… this has a delicate kind of quality to it.

The second set of muffins (with the cheese and jalapeño) were also quite amazing.  I think I should have added a little more cheese, because I found that rather than taste cheese, what I’m noticing is the flavor of the corn REALLY emerging.  I added just the right amount of jalapeño though, as these have a  kick to them without being too hot and spicy.   I wouldn’t call them mild either.  I’d call them just right!

Ordinarily when I make cornbread (or cornbread muffins), I use generic corn meal and follow a standard recipe using a ratio of 1:1 corn meal to whole wheat unbleached flour and the other “standard ingredients.”  These muffins … are MUCH better than anything I’ve ever produced using that recipe.

As for a tea recommendation, after tasting these muffins, if you want to really accentuate the corn flavor, try this Diyi Cornfields Shu from Verdant Tea – another product that really surprised me with its corn flavor!

My Final Thoughts:

If you want to serve just ordinary cornbread … stay with the corn meal you’re using now.  If you want something that will really impress someone (even if that someone is you), you must give this mix a try.  I really was not expecting to be as happy with this corn meal mix … I actually had a reaction that was sort of like “eh… why is this in the box?”  But after tasting it, I can say without hesitation that this mix makes the best corn bread muffins ever!

Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Mix from Serendipity 3

How’s this for being a bit behind?  This is one of the items in the AUGUST Foodzie Tasting Box!   Fortunately, though, it is the last of the August items that I need to review … and I do have an excuse.  My blender broke down earlier this year, and I hadn’t yet replaced it until September… even so, it still took me a couple of months to get around to actually breaking out the blender and whipping up this delightful confectionery beverage.

Where to Buy:  Serendipity 3 on Foodzie

Price:  $35.70 for a 6-pack of 6-oz pouches

Product Description:

From the famous NYC Landmark restaurant, Serendipity 3, Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. A blend of 14 exotic cocoas mixed in a blender with milk and ice to create a devilishly delectable drink!

What I Think:

I guess it is fair to say that I like it.  I am, after all, a chocoholic.  These 6 ounce packages make enough to share with others … or to make an incredibly indulgent treat for one.  I shared mine with my youngest daughter, my husband and my brother-in-law, mostly because they were around while I was making it, and I would have felt incredibly selfish to not share it.

My daughter says it tastes like a frosty (from Wendy’s) and… I’d agree with that, except that this has more depth of flavor.  I can taste more chocolate in it.  While I would describe the frosty as a pretty one-dimensional treat, this has many layers of chocolate-y flavor.  This is the “frosty” for chocolate connoisseurs.

The chocolate is incredibly rich and creamy, with profound notes of savory bitterness and sweet chocolatey goodness.  This puts every chocolate shake that I’ve ever tasted to shame.  Even the ones I’ve made.

This is SOOOOO good.

Now, for the bad news.  It’s quite pricy.  At $5.95 per 6-ounce package, I can’t really justify the price.  Especially considering that I could make more ice cream shakes using a high-end ice cream than I could with one package of this mix … and still end up spending less than I would with just one package of the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Mix.  Of course, the ice cream shakes would not taste as delightful as this decadent treat, but… I fear that much of the complexity in the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is lost with my young daughter (who compared it to a frosty) and my husband (who would be just as happy, I think, with a store brand fudge bar).  And since I am more of a tea drinker than a chocolate ice drink consumer, I just can’t find a justification for purchasing this.  I am REALLY glad that I had the opportunity to try it though… because it was AMAZING!

My Final Thoughts:

Very good.  I can’t help but wonder how delicious it would be if I had dropped a banana in the blender and made a Frrrozen Banana Hot Chocolate.   Hmm… maybe I will have to buy just one box… if for not other reason than to try it with the banana!