Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Foodie Pen Pals Reveal!

I’m so excited to write about  July Foodie Pen Pals hosted by the fabulous Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean. Thanks again Lindsay for hosting the now 1,000+ pen pal program! 

The Lean Green Bean

My box this month came all the way from Georgetown, CA near Sacramento courtesy of the amazing Stephanie from Mr. and Meatless!

 Her box was so amazing I only hope I can do it proper justice telling you all about it!

She was so sweet with what she included, all local and only a few miles from where she lives including from her hometown. She even made a map of where each item came from! What a great idea! I might have to steal it!

Everything was lovely and absolutely perfect for me (and Aaron.)

She sent the nicest note along with her map and interesting facts about her home town, Placerville, CA which I found HILARIOUS!

  • Former names for the town include “Hangtown” because of all the hangings there and my personal favorite, “Blood and Guts” which was too “un-Christian” sounding when families began moving to the gold mining town.
  • Stephanie lives in one of the major wine-producing regions in the State. SIGN ME UP!
  • The area is also known as “Apple Hill” due to its 50 farms’ production of apples, pears, grapes, Christmas trees, wineries, and a microbrewery. Guess it’s better than Blood and Guts!

I adore this girl already! Definitely a great "something written!"

But wait! There’s more!

Included in my amazing box from Stephanie:

The Garlic & Thyme Jelly from Lavender View Farm in Pollock Pines, California is so good!

I’ve already used it in several recipes including aioli and this tortellini primavera! The jelly gave a delicious garlic sweetness I adore!

There were several items from the Winterhill Farm in Placerville, CA (Stephanie’s home town) including Artisanally Crafted Olive oil, Herb & Spice Blend, and one Orange Fudgie chocolate.

As soon as I opened up the box I used the Spice Blend in a batch of turkey burgers.

This Herb & Spice Blend delicious and I can’t wait add it to lots of other things including to the olive oil to dip bread!

I love the little bottle of olive oil and can’t wait to use it but of course I’m hoarding it for what I consider, the “best use.”

Not so much with the Orange Fudgie as I ate it within 2 minutes of opening Stephanie’s box. It was delicious and due to our tradition, I shared half of it with Aaron. Ooh I want more of these! Made for Winterhill by Annabelle’s Chocolates of El Dorado this little treat has no butter but rather made with Winterhill’s Blood Orange Olive Oil. WOWOW.

Also included were two things from An Afternoon to Remember tea shop in Newcastle, CA. Stephanie says that this little tea shop has since closed its doors (how sad L) but the woman who owned it still sells homemade tea and treats from her website! I’m in!

There were four packets of different loose leaf tea including Southern Hospitalitea, Chocolate Mocha, Strawberry Fields Forever, and Blossom. I was so excited to have this tea with my antique loose leaf tea strainer from England!

Not to mention this tea came with its own sugar cubes hand made by the tea shop in adorable shapes and colors!

Stephanie, I loved EVERYTHING, THANK YOU!!!

So funny, last month I got a box from Minnesota and sent to Wisconsin, this month both ends were from California. What are the odds! It’s also so funny how hard it is to find cool artisan food at stores that ARE NOT from California! I thought it would be silly to send that stuff back to its homeland! So from now on I’ll stick with all local, which is hardly a challenge! But can you mail a cupcake I wonder?

If you want to see what I sent to Christy at Fudge Ripple check out her blog.

And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for August, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by August 4th as pairings will be emailed on August 5th!

*If you're from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send Lindsay an email and she'll see there is enough interest this month!

Since Aaron and I start our move back to Philadelphia (yayayayay!) this week and partially next week, I decided to take a break from the Foodie Pen Pals program in August. But don’t worry, I’ll be back in September with a new address ready to rock and roll to my next pen pal with Philadelphia treats. Has anyone ever sent a box of only different kind of pretzels? Hmmm…that would be interesting….

No, I promise future pen pal I have so many awesome Philadelphia things in mind to send you!

Till then, enjoy!


The College Cuisiner

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Almond Power Smoothie

I’m back from Camp! Did you miss me? Hopefully not as much since my friend Jen was here to keep you company on Wednesday and Friday. Thanks again Jen! What great posts, plus her photos make me jealous. Must be the Montana light! (Or her awesome skills I suppose…) So happy she posted her amazing Walnut Encrusted Chicken which is one of my favorite recipes by her!

If you haven’t visited Jen at her blog yet, do it now and tell her I sent you!

I had a great time at camp and I’ve come back exhausted and refreshed at the same time. I needed an outdoor break! Remember how I said I wouldn’t be cooking this week?

Really, you believed me?

But more on that later as I’ll be sure to share some of my camping experiences with you this week.

Now on to an original recipe of mine I’ve been meaning to post:

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling really crappy. I was groggy, tired, terrible stomach pains, the whole nine yards. Not sure what kicked it but I'm feeling a lot better. I also went on a healthy "binge" to help sort it out. I think it actually might have worked! Yay bananas!

But if you still need a power boost, here's what I suggest:

Almonds- lots of protein and energy to boot. Add a banana and protein rich Greek yogurt, you are good to go for a labor intense activity or a cool down after a run. I'm no health expert, heck, I'm a history major, but I do like healthy protein rich foods. Since I don't eat any red meat or pork, I have to rely on a lot of non-meat products for protein, mainly nuts like almonds.

 This smoothie came off of an protein-rich experiment to help with my tiredness and stomach problems. In the past I've had to limit my dairy consumption (not without struggle) as my lack of meat eating makes it hard for me to digest animal proteins like that found it milk. Once again, I'm not a doctor, but when I eat less dairy I get fewer stomach issues, I feel more energized, and overall just a little better. And maybe that had nothing to do with dairy but it was worth a shot. (But of course ice cream and cheese doesn't count right? Oops.)

 So in this (mostly) vegan protein smoothie you can experiment with eating your own natural and plant based snacks or just experiment with its tastiness. I love bananas and almonds so if that's you, you'll love this too.

Note: If you want a "true vegan" smoothie either get rid of the yogurt or use a vegan substitute such as Whole Soy or another soy-based yogurt.

Almond Power Smoothie:
Makes 1 smoothie

One banana, cut into chunks and frozen
3/4-1 cup almond milk
1-6.oz container of vanilla greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0% fat)
2 tbsp. Justin's honey Almond Butter
1-2 tbsp. Light agave (adjust for desired sweetness.)

 In a standing blender or with a emulsion blender in a container, begin to blend frozen banana with half amount of almond milk.

Once mostly smooth add yogurt, almond butter, and desired amount of agave. Blend, adding more almond milk as necessary.
Serve immediately and enjoy!


·         Add ½ cup of blueberries for color and extra sweetness and nutrients

·         Add a little chocolate….don’t tell anyone I said that!

·         Add chia seeds for extra nutrients and texture.

·         Mix in some SunWarrior: Warrior Blend Protein mix for more vegan protein and have smoothie for a full breakfast! (Another benefit of my July Conscious Box!)

Enjoy and let me know what you think!


The College Cuisiner

Friday, July 27, 2012

Walnut Crusted Chicken

The week is drawing to a close and I for one am celebrating that it’s Friday. But, that means Marisa is still hiding away at camp.. doing things like hiking and making crafts (lucky) and so here I am once again!

Rather than rambling on and on about my gluten-free life, today I’m just going to share a quick, yummy, perfect-for-summer recipe - Walnut Crusted Chicken. 

There are quite a few reasons why I love this recipe. Most importantly, it’s something that you can prepare and then eat in a variety of ways. Until a few months ago, I lived alone and that meant having leftovers from every meal. And let’s be honest, you can recycle tacos into taco salad and nachos for so many meals before it’s unhealthy. Another great thing about this recipe is that it utilizes mostly pantry ingredients and it was something I made without a trip to the grocery store. Now that we live in a small rural town, we’re learning to deal with out-of-control grocery prices and so we’re trying to be more conscious about using what we already have. 

  • 2 Chicken Breasts - sliced in half 
  • 1/3 Cup of Chopped Walnuts 
  • 2 Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan
  • 2 Cloves of Fresh Garlic 
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil 
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • Fresh Ground 
  • Black Pepper 
  • Kosher Salt

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (F). 
  • Take two cloves of garlic and press them with the back of a wide chef's knife. Or if you are fancy and own a garlic press, go ahead and use it! 
  • Place the two cloves of garlic in a food processor and chop them into fairly fine pieces. 
  • Add 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts and 2 tablespoons of parmesan to the garlic.
  • Process all of these ingredients until everything is uniform in size - this will be the coating for your chicken. (If you don't eat gluten free, feel free to add two slices of dried out bread before processing) 
  • Dump the mixture into a fairly large and shallow bowl.
  • In a small dish, beat an egg white with a whisk until it is nice and frothy. 
  • Next, take your chicken breasts and slice them in half down the center. 
  • Take each breast and dip it in the egg white until it is covered. 
  • Then, place the chicken in the walnut coating and make sure that it is covered on both sides.
  • It sometimes helps to press the coating with your hand onto the chicken. This doesn't have to be perfect. You should have enough coating for four chicken breast halves. 
  • In an ovenproof skillet (ideally one large enough for all of your chicken), add olive oil and heat over medium to high heat. 
  • Place the chicken in the skillet and cook it for about 3 or 4 minutes until it is browned on the bottom side. 
  • Grind fresh salt and pepper over the chicken breasts. 
  • Then, using a spatula, carefully flip the chicken over in the pan and grind salt and pepper over this side of the chicken, as well. (Some of your walnut coating may fall off - once again, don't worry about it being perfect.) 
  • Place the entire skillet in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes. 

At this point, your chicken is finished and could be served for dinner with any sides that you choose - when I first made this recipe, it was the middle of winter, and I found that roasted garlic mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus were classic but delicious choices!  While the chicken made a great dinner entree, I enjoyed it even more the next day. 

You see, this chicken is great when warmed and served over salad (especially during these hot summer months.) For my salad, I chose a pile of spinach and topped it with  Honey Balsamic (a staple in our house), a hard boiled egg, slices of tomato, candied walnuts, freshly ground black pepper, parmesan cheese. If you take the time to boil your egg while the chicken is coating, you can whip up a healthy packed lunch the next day in less than five minutes. As someone with food allergies and a busy schedule, I try to plan ahead for lunch - otherwise, I find myself spending $8 on an unsatisfying packaged salad somewhere. I’m sure you’ll all been there, too. 

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s versatile, some changes you could make include

  • Substituting almonds or pecans for walnuts
  • Creating a salad with carmelized apples and bleu cheese
  • Adding fresh berries and feta to the salad
  • Including other veggies like avocado or cucumber - anything that needs used in the fridge!

Do you find yourself eating more salad during the hot summer? What are your favorite salad toppings? I’m always looking for new variations!


The College Cuisiner’s Guest for the Day

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIAW #35: A Gluten-Free Guest Post

As you know, Marisa is at camp this week and that means no blogging - an atrocity, I know. Rather than missing a week of WIAW, Marisa asked me to fill in for her. So, I’m guessing your thoughts right now include “who are you?” and “how will you ever begin to fill Marisa’s shoes for even just one day?”. While I don’t have an answer for the second, I can easily answer the first - I’m Jen and you can usually find me over here. Marisa and I are childhood friends, dating back to the days of middle school when we shared a lunch table. I put serious thought into sharing a photo of that lunch table but figured that if I wanted to be invited back, I probably should refrain and well, I like it here.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. Marisa and I have been friends for more than eight years and in that time, she taught me a lot about adventurous eating. Believe it or not, my family had never had chinese food - my first egg roll? With Marisa. V8? Marisa. Cous cous? Banana bread? I could go on, but you get the point. Now, combine that with five years of waitressing experience (three of which were at a fine dining French restaurant), lots of traveling and falling in love with a chef and you have the new me - an open-minded (usually) healthy eater. 

Somewhere along in those eight years, I was diagnosed with severe food allergies - to wheat, oat, soy, milk and peanuts. Luckily, I’ve been able to introduce oats, a tiny bit of chocolate and the occasional Snickers bar with peanuts back into my diet but I’m always thankful when Marisa posts gluten-free recipe (and even more thankful that the chef.. well, he doesn’t eat wheat either).

Unfortunately, from the look of this post, you might assume that I am a terrible eater who survives on cookies and red meat but I promise you that is not the case. My typical diet falls more along the lines of salads, omelets and steamed veggies. You see, my boyfriend works five nights a week as a waiter at a super ritzy ranch in Montana (even though he has a culinary degree) and that means our culinary pursuits all end up squeezed into one day. I’m also in the process of remodeling our bathroom so substantial meals are in order. The rest of the week, we squeeze in breakfast together before the gym but that’s all we get. So yes, we were glutinous but at least you can reap the eye-candy benefits. And like I said, we go to the gym every day to make up for it - but more about that after.

So.. in honor of glutinous, gluten-free dining, here is what I ate: 


Gluten-free Certified Instant Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, 
Fresh Banana Slices & a Splash of Almond Milk

with an Iced Chai Latte
(I use Tazo Organic Chai concentrate & Silk Vanilla Almond Milk)

If you’re a fan of chai (and hey, that’s another love Marisa taught me), I highly recommend checking out the coffee and tea aisle of your local grocery store for this concentrate - it’s the same Starbucks product and you can make five or six lattes for the same price!)


Brown Sugar Ham & Smoked Provolone Sandwich with Garlic Parmesan Mayo, 
Spring Mix & Red Onion on Udi’s Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bread
(with a glass of homemade sweet tea, of course)

If you’re gluten free & haven’t tried Udi’s - you’re missing out.

Afternoon Snack

An Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Square 
that I was hoarding from a Go Picnic boxed lunch


In the spirit of Marisa’s “Grilling with Aaron” feature, I thought I should point out 
that much to the same effect - grilling is not my thing and so, 
the credit for this dinner goes to Trevor - my boyfriend and favorite chef. 

Steak a la Plancha served over Homemade Savory Sweet Potato Fries
and covered in a Smoked Paprika and Red Onion Caramel Sauce

served with Angry Orchard (Apple Ginger) - my idea
and a great gluten-free alternative to beer

At this point, you might be wondering why on earth every photograph was taken outside (with the exception of Trevor in our funny retro kitchen). You see, we recently moved to our new home and while Montana may have a frighteningly cold winter, our summer days are warm, breezy and wonderfully long. Between working and remodeling, we don’t have as much time to enjoy the scenery as much as we’d like and so we make it a point to eat our meals outside. All of them. You should try it. (Besides, if you lived here, I don’t think you’d argue.)


And, in the spirit of gluttony - we enjoyed an after dinner camp fire while these
 gluten-free chocolate chip cookies baked inside. 
Combine them with some Almond Milk and a good movie 
and you’ve got the perfect ending to the day.


I promised Marisa that while I was taking over her little corner of the internet for the day, I’d make a point to talk to you about exercise. Unfortunately, I have to talk about the hot, sweaty, calorie burning type. (Even though I like Marisa’s definition better... sleeping outside? reading books? I’m in.)

As a total asthmatic, exercise wasn’t my thing until after I’d graduated high school - there was an embarrassing incident involving gym class and an ambulance that I just couldn’t get over. While in college though, I began to train to participate in a 46 hour dance marathon which involved no sitting or sleeping. The only way to make it through that kind of leg torture was with months of torture leading up to it, and so I started to run on the elliptical daily. Then, I fell in love with the chef and low and behold, he’s also an avid fan of exercise, especially the lifting heavy weights and tugging on free cables kind of exercise. As I’m sure you can guess, this new type of exercise started spreading into my own life. (Thankfully he at least likes to add some basketball into the mix.)

And there I was, running and weight lifting and feeling great about it.. Until my doctor suggested yoga for back problems I was having. Well, I put that last piece of advice on hold for a few months but with a community yoga class offered for only $35 for 3 months? I thought, why not? and I fell in love. It was relaxing and a great addition to our daily gym visits.

So, I’m here to tell you that even if you’re not an exercise guru - if you’re the type who likes to sleep outside or read books, then perhaps yoga would be a great exercise for you! It can be intimidating to start though so I wanted to share five important tips with you!

1. Invest in a great yoga mat. 
Sure, you can pick up a mat for $10 maybe $15 at your local Target. While these function okay for yoga at home over carpet or yoga studios that aren’t heated, doing Bikram yoga or power yoga is nearly impossible on these products typically made from PVC. The studio that I used back home relied heavily on eco-friendly mats made from jute, I found that they started to biodegrade while you were still using them! Instead, I want to suggest this mat from Manduka. While this type of mat is a big investment, it will hold up well, sweaty palms and feet won’t slip, and your joints will thank you for the extra support!

2. Stay hydrated.
Perhaps you only have time to fit yoga in once each week, that’s okay but you have to keep your body hydrated seven days, just the same! While it seems less intense than other forms of exercise, yoga still makes you sweat and you’re less likely to feel achy afterwards if you’re well hydrated. My rule of thumb is to take your body weight and drink half that number in ounces each day. (Unless, like me, you live in a high altitude with a dry climate. In that case, your body weight in ounces may not even be enough!)

3. Ask for modifications.
Going into yoga, I knew that my knees and lower back would pose problems for some poses. Thankfully, I was blessed with great instructors and older classmates who knew the best modifications to make poses less strenuous on those areas. Most poses can be altered and any instructor should be willing to help you make yoga safe and comfortable for you. If not, I suggest finding a new teacher!

4. Practice at home.
This is advice that I don’t take enough myself. I’m much more motivated when in the studio and find it embarassing to drag my mat out in front of my boyfriend. But, there are great advantages to practicing at home. If you can find some time alone, it’s a great time to practice difficult to hold poses like the infamous crane. Practicing at home also means more time practicing and stretching and that means advancing more quickly in your poses. Yoga Journal offers some great at home videos and Yoga Today offers a free video class each week! (If you are nervous about whether or not yoga is for you - try a few of these videos before signing up for a class at a local studio. Plus, most studios offer a free class or two to beginners. If you don’t love the first studio you try, try another!)

5. Relax!
This is probably the best lesson I’ve learned from my yoga studies. I’m a type A personality with a very busy schedule. Relaxing to me usually means blogging, cooking dinner or giving our Pit Bull a bath - not relaxing by most definitions. Yoga classes are one of the times that I am able to shut off my phone and take a break from everything. That hour or hour and a half is a great time to relax and think about only positive things! (Thinking about anything else will disrupt the flow of your practice, trust me!) One important thing to avoid in class is comparing yourself to others. Everyone in a class is at a different level - different lengths of time they’ve practiced.. some do yoga daily.. others only once a week.. some are ex-gymnasts with amazing flexibility.. some may be doing yoga for the first time. If you let your eyes and mind wander to what those around you are doing, you won’t relax. Like Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.”

Hopefully these tips will get you motivated to try a yoga class or two - or to find another type of exercise which works for you! I feel that most of these tips can be transferred to your practice, whether it’s pilates or zumba. Plus, with Marisa at camp and unable to blog, you should have some extra minutes over the next few days.

As much as I’ve enjoying sharing some gluten-free grub and yoga tips with you, I’ve got a bathroom to remodel! If you’d like to grab some gluten-free recipes or stare at photos of beautiful Montana, please stop on over! (Plus, rumor has it that Marisa’s going to guest post for me soon.)


the College Cuisiner’s Guest for the Day

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Conscious Box Review

I was so excited when Conscious Box sent me their July box last week. 

I've never tried a monthly box delivery service and I couldn't wait to see what was included in the box I’ve heard so much about. It arrived so neatly packaged. I could not believe how well they could pack this tiny box with so many amazing goodies!

Everything they do is made with care. Even the box is made out of 100% post-consumer cardboard, recycled tissue paper and even vegetable based-ink! 

They are beyond eco friendly! These people are pretty spectacular.

I also love the monthly inspirational message included.

As you might have noticed I really don’t post about a product unless I like it. Conscious Box is definitely a product I would recommend to my readers.
I loved the variety of products and samples that were included. Everything from cosmetics, cleaners, food, tea, etc.

All of the products featured are made “the right way” meaning natural, organic, with quality ingredients and manufactured with integrity and green measures. Conscious Box is very particular about what companies are represented in each box they send out including weeding out those who deceive customers and “greenwash” them into thinking their products are green when it is simply a marketing tool. Instead, Conscious Box works to introduce their subscribers to only ethical companies that legitimately deserve the recognition. (Not to mention their own top-notch practices and commitment to employing American workers for fair wages.)

The concept of Conscious box is truly amazing. They find companies who are making their products the right way and bring their products to the customers who value it the most. It's a win-win. As we all know, just because companies do things the right way doesn't mean they get the exposure necessary to run a succesful business. That's where Conscious box comes in. They fill that gap and bring truly awesome products straight to you.  And what is so cool about Conscious Box is you wouldn’t normally find many of these products on your own, so it really exposes you to a new world of innovative products.

Now as you know I'm on a budget and need to spend wisely. But really when you look at the cost of Conscious Box at $12 with $7 shipping you are looking at a steal. $19 is easily how much you can spend at lunch for two people without even trying. Instead I'm looking at sacrificing Chipotle and going with Conscious Box. It might have to be an every other month thing but that’s okay, I’m in college.

But wow. How great is this?

Now let's see what’s inside:

The Aura Cacia Aromatherapy cards are a lot of fun and focus on using aromatherapy oils in different ways. Included was a bottle of Sweet Orange Essential Oil that smells like summer in a bottle. They recommend using this scent in the Winter for a boost.

I was excited to try the Just Great Stuff bar in Superberry Acai so I took it to work for a part of my breakfast with coffee.

I love what’s inside, berries, raw foods, organic, 5g of protein but I don’t know if I would go out of my way to buy this again. It had the consistency of fruit leather mixed with a brownie and kind of a grainy aftertaste that made me feel like I just chewed a vitamin.

If you like tangy fruity stuff this might be your thing but I don’t think it’s mine. I like the big chunks of fruit and nuts that break up the chewiness but again not enough to convince me to buy this variety again. I’d be interested in trying their other flavors which include Chocolate Dream Greens as I think the graininess wouldn’t be as noticeable when mixed with chocolate.

As soon as I opened the box I wanted to try St. Claire’s Organics Peppermints. Organic, vegan etc. I loved who simple the ingredients were. Three: Organic molasses granules, organic evaporated cane juice, and organic peppermint essential oil. The simple ingredients reminded me of a lot of the stuff I could get in England—unadultered. I tried one right after dinner when my taste buds were a little busy already.

I do like that these mints aren’t very sweet but rather very pepperminty. It is a nice balance between an altoid and sweeter mint, not too sweet, not too spicy. The freshness is great and is what a mint should be instead of simply another form of candy. I will definitely get these again.

Another thing that I got excited over was the Naturally It’s Clean Floor cleaner. When I pulled this out of the neatly packed box Aaron exclaimed, “wow this thing is awesome!” I cannot wait to use this on the floors of our new apartment in two weeks. It’s all-natural, no chemicals and safe on practically every floor surface from hardwood to tile to bamboo. It promises no streaks, only results. What could be better? Included was a coupon which boasted the company’s other natural cleaning products. Winner.

The Jadience Muscle & Joint cream is amazing. I was so excited to try the all-natural cream for my back pains along with Aaron’s woes. The smell is light so instead of the strong pungent odor of creams that “tell you it’s working” this stuff does the job without you even knowing. There was no tingling sensation that you “expect” now of pain relief creams but instead once I used it on my aching back I actually felt noticeable relief for several hours. The fast acting “extra strength” variety is definitely something Aaron and I will be getting again. I was a little worried when my dog Loucie was licking my hands because you never know but wow was this stuff good.

I saw a lot of new products in the box but one I did recognize was the Madhava natural sweeteners.

I’ve seen their agave which was included but what I was really excited about was the natural coconut sugar granules included.

I really like agave and honey (which Madhava starting producing first) but having a good substitute sugar for baking it such a plus. I’m always worried about experimenting with liquid sugars in baking as it is such a science of balance. The coconut sugar will be a great alternative to work with. I can’t wait! They also included some great recipes for their sugars and of course coupons!

I definitely struggled between saving all of my goodies and stretching them out or using all of them at once so I could review them. I think I landed in between.

I tried the GoGo SqueeZ Apple Mango Applesauce on the go for a work afternoon snack. I love the concept especially for packed lunches and kids.

Of course it’s all natural and only made of fruit but it tasted a little too much of banana which was the third posted ingredient rather than the mango which was the second listed. Plus due to the squeeze nature of the package it is near impossible to get the last bit of applesauce out onto your tongue.  If your kids don’t like bananas they wouldn’t like Gogo but it is definitely a great snack option for on the go kids and adults alike.

 One of my favorite things in the box was the Tea Forte natural Fair trade tea bags. I tried the Tea Forte “Cherry Marizpan” green tea for corrective repair. I couldn’t believe how fragrant the dry tea was and I couldn’t wait to try it with a little agave. It honestly tasted like cherries and almonds and a lot like pie.

I think this is probably the most aromatic tea I’ve ever had. I was impressed. The Honeycomb Yuzu is equally delicious. I can’t wait to try the cucumber and mint variety that was included as well. I will definitely be looking for this delicious tea and be using the $1 off coupon!

I also loved getting lots of coupons for different products other than samples included. I cannot wait to try the Mighty Leaf Iced Tea in Ginger Peach that looks so delicious and crisp for a hot summer day. As it is currently rainy and cold, I will save this for a more appropriate occasion. 

I really liked the Powbab super fruit chews as a good alternative to vitamins. It was actually pretty tasty but it is the nutrients and what is inside with an immunity boost that I'm most interested in. I think I’ll look into trying these again!

There are several products I can’t wait to try including the Vegan eye shadow from The All-Natural Face in Olivene Gold. This looks a fun color to try!

The Sun Warrior “Warrior blend” Vanilla Raw protein mix looks great. I can’t wait to blend into a smoothie for a great protein kick.

I was so happy with this box of goodies and I would love to get this again. Hope you give it a try too, I'm glad I did!


The College Cuisiner

Note: Conscious Box provided me a sample box to review but I received no compensation neither anything for a promise of a positive review. All opinions are my own.