Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Degustabox - May

Every month, I get a free box of goodies from Degustabox, so I can tell you all about it. Sometimes they they send boxes to customers with different options, based on customer requests. But (lucky me!) I get all the options. Yum yum.

This time, some customers get a box with tea for Keurig-style coffee makers, while another box is for folks who don't have Keurigs.

I have to say that this might be my favorite box so far. It was sort-of Italian themed, and I love Italian and Mediterranean foods.

I say that it was "sort-of" Italian themed, because while there were quite a few Italian items, there were other product as well. You'll see.

Mulino Bianco shortbread cookies
I love shortbread cookies. They're buttery and not too sweet, and they're sort of a "pure" cookie since they don't include a lot of extra ingredients. So I don't need to worry about finding coconut in there. Also, shortbreads are great for making cookie crusts for cheesecakes or similar desserts. I hadn't tried this brand before, so I was happy to have another option. These were pretty typical shortbreads, except that they had a bit of a toasty flavor. They were nice. I got the "Galetti" cookies which have a rooster stamped on them, but Mulino Bianco has a whole bunch of other shortbread cookies as well.

Mulino Bianco tomato and oregano bread sticks
I adore bread sticks. They're perfect with soup or salad, but I also like them as a snack. Kind of like pretzels without all the extra salt. These were flavored with tomato and oregano, so they had plenty of flavor.

Barilla Farfalle Pasta
When I was a kid, we called this shape of pasta "bow ties" and my mom often used them for tuna noodle casserole, but now I know they're supposed to be butterflies. It doesn't matter what the shape is supposed to represent, I still like it. I like it a lot for pasta salads. Hmmm. Pasta salad with pesto would be good, right?

Goya lentil and vegetable soup
I was going to make soup, but then this showed up and I decided to give it a try. It was supposed to be cooked in 30 minutes (to cook the dried lentils all the way) but I needed about 10 minutes more, since I live at high altitude. This was a good soup and super-easy. For a heartier meal, it would be great with some leftover chicken tossed in.

Pure Growth Organic Oatmeal
Since there was a photo of SpongeBob on the box, I'm guessing this is aimed at kids, but it's basically an instant oatmeal. I prefer steel cut oats, but I use instant and rolled oats quite often for baking, so I still have a good use for these.

La Tortilla Factory corn and wheat tortillas
These are awesome. They're made from both wheat and corn, so you have the flavor of corn tortillas, but they're more pliable and less prone to cracking and breaking that's typical with corn tortillas, while not being fluffy and bready like flour tortillas.

Mutti finely chopped tomatoes
I use a lot of canned tomatoes. I even use them when tomatoes are in season, because they're so convenient. I'll be looking for these at the store since the finely diced texture is great when you want pieces of tomato rather than a puree, but you don't want giant pieces. Like for a salsa, where you want to get all the ingredients onto a chip.

Barilla traditional pesto
Pesto is easy to make, but it takes a lot of basil. If I have a garden growing, I might have enough basil. If not, this stuff is handy to have on hand. Pesto is great mixed with pasta, but I also like it mixed with broccoli.

Some boxes contain the following two:

Soy Vay honey barbecue sauce
I've tried a bunch of different Soy Vay products, but I didn't know they made a barbecue sauce - I thought they mostly made things like teriyaki. This was an asian-style sauce with honey and soy, and it had sesame seeds floating in it. So it's not what you'd find at your local barbecue place ... or maybe it is, if they have a lot of sauce.

Village Harvest quick-cook whole grain blends
This includes rice, lentils, and spices, and cooks in 15 minutes ... or a little longer for me, since I'm at high altitude. I usually make rice in my rice cooker since I can put it in early and it keeps the rice warm and fluffy until I need it. But this is great for when rice is more of a side dish than something that's there to sop up a sauce. And it's done in 15 minutes. Easy peasy.

Other boxes contain the following two:

Chicago Vegan dandies marshmallows
These vegan marshmallows are made without any gelatin, but I didn't notice any significant differences between these and regular marshmallows, except seemed a little softer than the usual store-bought brands. Perhaps that's just because they were fresher and probably made in a small batch. When I make my own marshmallows, they're usually a lot softer than purchased marshmallows when they're first made, but they get firmer over time. If you're vegan and want marshmallows, these are worth a look.

Skinnygirl Mojito Mint green tea for Keurig
I love mint tea, so I was pretty happy to get this. It's got green tea as its base, so it's not all mint - a nice mix, actually. The mint helps make the green tea seem sweeter and not quite as astringent as a typical green tea. Overall, I liked it.

I receive these boxes at no cos to me, so I can describe them to you.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Keli's Sauces

It's kind of hard to review food products, because what you get is my personal taste. But still, there are some things that can be described, right?
I got a selection of sauces from a company called Keli's that makes Hawaiian-style sauces.

Since I've never been to Hawaii, I can't tell you whether these sauces really are typical in Hawaii, but I am a big fan of teriyaki sauce. Sometimes I even make my own, although I don't do it very often.

Now that I've tried Keli's, I'm perfectly happy to not have to make it at all.

I haven't tried all of the products yet, since I don't have room in the fridge for a bazillion bottles of sauces that I would use in the same way. But so far, I'm pretty happy with what I've tried. the sauces aren't too sweet or too salty or too ... anything. They're well balanced and flavorful.

My first attempt was some sous vide chicken breasts. Basically, I put some of the sauce in the sous vide bag before cooking. And then I served it with a little extra sauce on top. Good stuff.

So far I haven't tried all of the sauces I received (and I didn't get every single one, but I got enough to keep me happy for a while) so I can't really say which is best. But if you like teriyaki, I think these are worth giving a try.

FYI, these come in smaller bottles as well as big jugs, in cake you're really a fan of teriyaki.

Who's it for: Peeps who like teriyaki.

Pros: Yum.

Cons: Might be hard to find at your grocer. But you can buy it from the company's website or Amazon.

Wishes: Ummmm. Can't think of anything at the moment.

Source: I received this from the manufacturer for the purpose of a review.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

D'Vash Date Nectar

So ... there are a bazillion types of sugar these days. Besides the crystallized white and brown sugars, there are the wet ones, like honey and agave. Coconut sugar seems to be getting more popular.

Recently, I got a chance to sample some date nectar (another wet sugar) from a company called D'Vash.

They sent little plastic tubes of the date nectar. Perfect for taking along for sugaring drinks at work or on the go. Or for sticking in the cabinet for pre-measured sugar. They also sell it in a bottle.

I tried it several times in tea. While I don't usually sweeten tea, there are some occasions where I like the little extra sweetness.

The verdict is that the D'Vash Date Nectar has good flavor, but not strong flavor. It didn't overpower the tea, but it added just a little bit or richness without really changing the flavor of the tea.

If you're trying to avoid the crystallized sugars, this one's a nice choice.

Who's it for: People who want to be sweeter.

Pros: Tastes good. Not weird.

Cons: It's a little spendy.

Wishes: This would be nice if it came in a much larger container to lower the per-serving price so it would be reasonable for baking.

Source: I received this from the manufacturer for the purpose of a review.