Not Your Average Protein Bar

I’m always excited to receive mail, but last week a package arrived that I immediately busted open.

vega bars

The Vega Bar team was kind enough to send eight of their plant-based, gluten-free, non GMO protein bars. Sweet! Here’s the breakdown of my loot:

Vega One Meal Bars in Chocolate Cherry Almond and Chocolate Peanut Butter

Vega Snack Bars in Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts & Sea Salt and Cranberry Almond

Vega Sport Protein Bars in Chocolate Coconut and Chocolate Mint

Vega Sport Energy Bars in Cherry Almond and Chocolate Coconut Almond

Let’s start with the Sports bars. I tried the Cherry Almond flavor for some pre-run fuel and was initially surprised by the texture. It was chewy and moist, but not sticky like some bars. The non-artificial flavoring was good, but I preferred the Chocolate Coconut Almond. That one? So good. I ate a whole bar before my run yesterday and I definitely feel that it helped me get my running mojo back. I felt full but not stuffed, and knowing that I’m putting clean fuel in my body makes it easier to concentrate on my workout.

Vega Sport Energy Bar

Later in the week, I used a Meal bars as snacks. What can I say? I’m a hungry gal. I love the fact that the wrapper has all these cool stats in easy to digest form (Hahah, get it? So punny.) While it wouldn’t suffice for an actual meal replacement for me, both the Chocolate Cherry Almond and the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors were spot on. It was a bit weird seeing a chocolate pb bar without either discernible peanuts or that light brown coloring inside. I quickly got over it and scarfed the whole thing down 🙂

vega choc pb

As for the Snack bars? They’re delicious, too. I would have more in-depth notes on these flavors, but I tend to wait until the last minute when I’m snacking on the go or in the office. I can tell you that these bars are easily portable – I carried them around in multiple purses and are probably strong enough to sustain a tour or two in a stuffed gym bag.

Look at all those berries!

Look at all those berries!

I haven’t used the Vega Sport Energy Recovery bars yet, as I’m saving them for after my half marathon on Sunday. If they are anything like the other bars I’ve tried, I know that they’ll be tasty and effective. They’ll help my body recover in a natural way through the use of whole grain brown rice and pea protein. I can’t wait to try them out!

Vega Sport Bar

All in all, I’d highly recommend the Vega bar product line. The packaging is informative and interesting and you can’t complain about the flavoring and quality of the products!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary shipment of Vega bars as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. All thoughts and opinions of the product are my own.

Badge_Vega200

 

This post is part of my Try It Tuesday series. I review a variety of products/services and use this series to recommend only the best to you. Enjoy 🙂

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Wine Me Up

Did you know that tomorrow is National Picnic Day? (Don’t worry, neither did I.) But when Beso Del Sol Sangria wanted to send me a box of wine to help us celebrate the occasion, who was I to turn them down? I was a bit skeptical at first but don’t be fooled, this isn’t your stereotypical boxed wine.

Created from a combination of red wine with Mediterranean fruit extracts and sugar, Beso Del Sol Sangria is the first premium 100% natural sangria with a bag-in-a-box on the market. In addition to a great taste, Beso Del Sol is a fantastic value – each 3L box is the equivalent of four bottles of 750ml bottles! (That’s a lot of wine…even for me :P) The packaging is light and easily portable – easily fitting in a backpack or picnic basket. Additionally, the technology used ensures that each sip stays fresh for up to six weeks after opening…just in case you’re not ready to drink all 3L in one sitting. But the best part? Each box of Beso Del Sol retails for about $20! Where can you get 4 bottles of wine for $20? (Um, if you do know a place like this, send the info my way!)

beso-del-sol-sangria

We shared the box with our neighbors during a game night. We added in pear, orange, and green apple, but the taste still was a bit too tame for me. However, our neighbor had a differing opinion, saying it had an astringient aftertaste. Neither the JA nor I picked up on that, but it could also be that the wine wasn’t fully chilled or that the fruit was affecting her glass differently than ours. In the end, while the wine was great on it’s own, for me, it would also be good with a little added extra kick of brandy or other liquor.

All in all, I’d definitely recommend it as an on-the-go option this spring/summer. I see Beso Del Sol Sangria being a great option for outdoor concerts, tailgating, a barbecue, or for the beach! Connect with Beso Del Sol on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary box of Beso Del Sol Sangria for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Find this review helpful? Find others like it on my Reviews & Try It Tuesday page!

Nutty Apple Crisp

I’m not that big of an oatmeal fan. I mean, I like it, but the prepackaged stuff doesn’t exactly make me feel healthy. Overnight oats? Such a weird texture. I can’t get over it enough to like them. More often than not, I use oatmeal as an ingredient in my baking. (See: Quinoa Bars and Banana Bread.)

So when I was approached my My Oatmeal to review their product, I got overly excited. Creating a custom blend of healthy oatmeal would be perfect for the morning! I selected the signature smash blend oats in Oatmeal Cookie flavor (I know, right?) and added blueberries, cranberries, dark raisins, walnuts and pecans to the mix. The company recommended adding some brown cane sugar, so I complied. But before trying it as breakfast, I had an idea for a recipe!

nutty apple crisp

Nutty Apple Crisp

Ingredients
2 1/2 Granny Smith apples, sliced into bite-size pieces
1 cup healthy oatmeal blend (including walnuts & pecans)
1/8c. brown sugar (optional)
2 tbsp. margarine, softened

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Place apple pieces in a 9×9 pan coated with cooking spray.

3. Add oatmeal blend over top of apples. Sprinkle brown sugar for added sweetness.

4. Slice margarine into small slivers and distribute throughout mixture.

5. Bake for 30 minutes.

6. Let cool and serve with ice cream (or yogurt in the morning!)

**If you want to use regular oatmeal, add desired nuts/dried fruit into a small bowl with 1 c oatmeal, adding dashes of cinnamon & nutmeg prior to placing over apples. **

It was so nice to just pour and go instead of measuring out all the ingredients. There’s also the added bonus of extra fruit! The sugar content of the oatmeal seemed a bit high for me, but that was my own fault. Selecting a different flavor or carefully selecting the dried fruit you add would most likely reduce this.

MyOatmeal

Disclaimer: I was provided 1 lb. of customized oatmeal from MyOatmeal.com as part of a campaign run by Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Like this recipe? Check out others on my Recipes page!

10-Minute Vegetarian Nachos

The JA and I are big fans of meals that we can whip together in a pinch – especially when they are bursting with flavor. Our favorite go-to nacho recipe, up until this point, was How Sweet’s 20 Minute Turkey Taco Nachos. (Seriously, love them.)

Yet, with training for my upcoming half marathon, nachos aren’t necessarily the best fuel choice. However, when I received a lovely package from Sunshine Burger, a company committed to serving health-conscious consumers with delicious, wholesome, veggie burgers and products made with certified organic, whole-food ingredients, I figured why not give veggie burger nachos a try. I got six different flavors and decided that the Black Bean South West flavor would be perfect to test as a meat substitute.

I think we're set for a while.

I think we’re set for a while.

You guys, it rocked. Like, we ate these off the tray, standing in front of our oven good.

Here’s how we made them:

veggie nachos

10-Minute Vegetarian Nachos

3 Black Bean South West Sunshine Burgers
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 bag tortilla chips (we used blue corn chips)
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded lettuce
(avocado & greek yogurt can be used as additional toppings)

1. Heat olive oil & onion over medium heat.
2. Add veggie burgers and cook per package instructions, crumbling to fully mix with onion.
2. While burgers are heating, line baking sheet with foil.
3. Place a layer of chips on baking sheet. Top with cheese.
4. Set oven to broil.
5. Once burger/onion mix is finished, and place it evenly on top of cheese.
6. OPTIONAL: Place another layer of cheese on top of burger/onion mix.
7. Heat nachos under broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.
8. Cover with salsa & lettuce, adding any other nacho-like toppings to taste.

As I said, these were phenomenal. They were even better knowing that the burgers themselves were of high quality.

veggie nachos 2

We tried out a few more recipes with the burgers, so stay tuned for more deliciousness! In the meantime, find other recipes of mine on my Recipes page.

To find a store selling Sunshine Burgers near you, click here.

Disclaimer: I was provided six boxes of Sunshine Burgers as an ambassador of the Fit Approach Sweat Pink community. All opinions are my own. 

Let’s Go!

Whew. And just like that, we’re all set for our trip. (Besides packing, of course.)

passport

While in DC (for the second time in about a week), I got to have lunch with a good friend of mine. Since I’m not city gal, he nicely provided options close to the Foggy Bottom metro stop. (And yet….I still got lost – missing my metro stop then getting turned around once exiting the FB station. Whoops.)

We ended up at District Commons. We started with the pretzel baguette, and I ordered the curry roasted butternut squash bisque and with a side of fall vegetables. He got the District Commons ‘burger’ with fries.

soup

Food was good, but the atmosphere is what really makes this place special. You don’t feel like you’re right off a main traffic circle. Our server was very knowledgeable and ready to provide suggestions/guidance when we were ordering. The price was a little steep for lunch, but what isn’t more expensive in DC? Totally worth it 🙂

district commons

And now to tackle the massive ‘to do’ list…have a great Tuesday!

Sweet Tooth

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have a serious sweet tooth.

I often end the evening with ice cream, a chocolate, or (on a very special occasion) cookies or cake.

As a housewarming present, our friend, Renee, brought us cupcakes from our local bakery, SugarBakers Cakes. They were so good that I might have to add neighborhood treats to the housewarming gift list!

This is not our first go-round with SugarBakers – they also made our wedding cake! They contracted with our caterer to make the cake, but we did taste quite a few flavors of cake before settling on a three-tier amaretto raspberry cake with buttercream icing. We chose our design from a book our caterer had on hand, and the flowers were provided by our florist, but placed on the cake by the artist who delivered the cake to our venue. Seeing that logo on our cupcakes made me excited to bust out our top layer. Good news – we celebrated our first anniversary this weekend and the cake was still good! (The icing, not so much. Eh, what can you do?)

SugarBakers cake has a great texture and consistency. The icing on the cupcakes was sweet but thick and filling. They had a light dusting of glitter (so subtle that the JA didn’t notice but I obviously picked up on it). Our wedding cake was one that we chose from an existing design list they have for wedding cakes but the company is also more than willing to design a custom cake for your special day.

All in all, I have to agree with the company’s slogan: ‘Too pretty to eat, too good not to!’

This is part of my Try It Tuesday series. I review a variety of products/services and use this series to recommend the best to you! I was not compensated for this review, I just love the product and want to spread the word!

Mystery Date, Part 2

If you missed part 1 of our Sierra Nevada Beer dinner, click here to catch up!

Where did we leave off? Oh yes, the second course. On to the third!

4th beer, 3rd course – Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale (American IPA, 6.7% ABV) and apple wood smoked chicken, panzanella salad – grilled ciabatta, tomato, cucumber olives, feta and oregano. The tasting notes for this beer told us that a lot of traveling, time and effort had been put into the beer. The Harvest beer series is all about fresh hops, meaning that they pick the hops, immediately dry them, fly them to Chico, CA (where the brewery is located), and brew them within a week of being picked. They do this so that the IPA’s taste as fresh as possible. The hops in this beer came from New Zealand and give it hints of fresh grapefruit, caramel and pine.

chicken salad VGP

This beer is in limited release – marking another reason why these dinners give you the most bang for your buck. We were trying beers that aren’t necessarily available everywhere. Our thoughts: The food with this dish was just okay – the consensus at the table was that the olive taste was too strong. Unfortunate. The beer lightened the taste of the olives, but I was too turned off to truly enjoy or rank it. I just wanted the overwhelming olive taste out of my mouth!

5th beer, 4th course – Sierra Nevada Fungoo (Spiced/herb/vegetable, 7% ABV) with grilled a maderia glaze on a grilled veal tenderloin set atop a rosemary and mushroom polenta. This beer description caught our eye from the start. Categorized as a spiced/herb/vegetable beer, we read on and discovered that the experimental beer pulls its character from mushrooms. Dashes of shiitake mushrooms mingle with dark fruit notes to create an elusive aroma and use of California-grown wild rice provides a dry finish.

tenderloin VGP

There are only 2 Fungoo kegs in the state, so we felt that we had to give this a good, honest taste before discussing. Our thoughts: Doesn’t taste odd at all! We didn’t know what to expect going in, and although the beer was a bit strong for the dish, we can now say that we’ve had a vegetable beer. How cool is that?! THe mushrooms were fantastic, but I wish they would have worked better with the beer. The polenta nd veal complimented each other well, but it also could have been good with a potato or rice.

6th beer, 5th course – Sierra Nevada Barrel Aged Maple Stout with Coffee (Imperial Stout, 12.9% ABV) with a dark chocolate stout cakes, coconut mousse, dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce. Dessert, finally! This beer was brewed with maple syrup and aged in oak bourbon barrels with dark roasted coffee beans, yielding a velvety black and rich beer. Notes of dark chocolate and toasted malts combine with earthy sweetness and a hint of maple balance the toasted coconut aromas from the barrel. The beer finishes with a roasty touch from the coffee beans and dark malts. Our thoughts: By this point, we were a little toasty ourselves! I’m a coffee drinker, but even this stout was too much for me. THe JA doesn’t like coffee at all, and he only ended up having a sip. I tried it with the cake, but let’s face it, chocolate cake will win over chocolate beer for me any day.

dessert VGP

That sums up our evening! I would definitely do another beer dinner again – even with the price tag. The opportunity to have a five-course meal paired with beverages is something I enjoyed greatly. We got to try beers that are in limited release and got souvenir glasses to mark the evening. If you’re not a beer drinker, don’t worry! You can still partake in the experience. We had someone who preferred wine at our table and the servers made sure that she had wines that paired with each course. Click here to see a schedule of upcoming dinners!

Just a reminder: We were given tickets to this event by a friend, and all thoughts and opinions of the evening (unless noted) are mine and the JA’s.