Friday, February 26, 2010

YouBar Review and a Deal for You

Before my review, I'd like to share a snow picture I recently took, since that is still the most prominent feature of the Iowa landscape now :-).

So I've got a few reviews to catch up on :-).  Joel from YouBar generously offered to send me a few samples of their bars, trail mixes, and shake mixes to sample and review for my blog.  I'll review the YouTrailMixes first since they were my favorite!

Here's a little information about YouTrailMixes.  You get to "design your own custom trail mix perfectly tailored to your personal taste and nutritional needs.  With over 40 ingredients to choose from you are bound to find your perfect custom trail mix combination.  Each customized trail mix is handmade and guaranteed delicious. Pick your own perfect trail mix today!" 

Sounds great doesn't it?!  Who wouldn't want to make their own personalized trail mix?  And you can visit their site here:

Now on to the reviews....

Chocolate Peanut

I give this mix an 8.5 of 10.  The best part of it was the freshness - all the ingredients were fresh and crisp!  I especially loved the dark chocolate covered raisens :-).  The apple bits were quite soft, chewy, and flavorful, but some were really tiny and crumb-like, which was a tad annoying.
Chocolate Trails

This mix gets a 9 of 10.  The cheeries were amazingly sweet and tart.  And again, all the ingredients were quite fresh.
The Best Trail Mix

This mix gets a 9 of 10.  Their M&M-like sun drops were pretty cool, with a uniquely sweetened outside and a great chocolate inside.  I did wonder why the berries in this mix were sweetened though, for I didn't think that was necessary considering how sweet the others were just by themselves.  Overall, a good experience!

And here's the Deal for You!  If you head over to and use my code “FoodFotos” you will receive a 5% discount on your order.  So if you're thinking you'd like to try them out, now would be a good time ;-).

And don't forget my Zevia giveaway.  It ends March 2, 2010.

AND check out Healthy Exposure's Vermonster giveaway here:

Chobani giveaway too!

And there's a Chia Seed giveaway from IowaGirlEats

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Clif C Review!

The wonderful people from Clif Bar and Company sent me some samples to try and also review on my blog.  They are definitely one of my favorite companies, so this was an honor :-).  The first bars I tried were their new Clif C bars, similar to Larabars except they add a bit of sea salt to enhance the flavor.  Some of you may also be interested to know that the Clif C bars have fewer calories.  I personally think the Clif C bars are a little more pleasing to the eye because they have a crust layer of almonds, macadamia nuts, dates, and salt topped with a layer of fruit with toasted nuts on top.  It's truly beautiful!  The only downside is that the top layer is a tad sticky since it's pure fruit.  Here is a link where you can find more info. on Clif C:

Here are my ratings of the 4 flavors:


Ingredients:Organic Dates, Almonds, Organic Apples, Macadamia Nuts, Organic Apple Juice Concentrate, Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt (Real Salt®), Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant).

Apple gets a 9.5 of 10!  It smelled just like apple crisp and had a great touch of cinnamon.  I loved the green apple flavor that was complemented nicely by the almonds.  It was sweet but not too much!  A perfect treat :-).


Ingredients: Organic Dates, Almonds, Organic Cranberries (Organic Cranberries, Organic Apple Juice Concentrate), Organic Apples, Macadamia Nuts, Raspberry Juice Concentrate, Sea Salt (Real Salt®), Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant).

Raspberry gets my 1st 10 out of 10!  I absolutely love raspberries and this bar got their flavor perfectly!  And who can have anything against almonds?


Ingredients: Organic Dates, Almonds, Organic Blueberries (Organic Blueberries, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice), Macadamia Nuts, Organic Blueberry Juice Concentrate, Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sea Salt (Real Salt®), Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant).

Blueberry gets a 9 of 10.  It was sweet and the blueberry puree was wonderfully smooth on the top layer.  The almonds added a great crunch, and the two layers complemented each other perfectly :-).


Ingredients: Organic Dates, Almonds, Organic Cherries (Organic Cherries, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice), Macadamia Nuts, Organic Cherry Juice Concentrate, Organic Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, Sea Salt (Real Salt®), Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant).

Cherry Pomegranate gets a 9 out of 10 too.  It was mostly cherry flavored with a hint of pomegranate.  Just great!

Overall, I think these bars were awesome (and they each contain one serving of fruit)!  The only complaint would be that the top layer can be just a tad sticky.  The flavor is right on par though, and I really think these bars are going to give the Larabars a run for their money.  Of course, the fact that there are only 4 Clif C flavors as of right now does mean that Larabar lovers won't be turning sides quite yet... 

Anyway, I'd suggest you give them a try for yourself and see how you think they compare!  For more Clif C facts, look here:

Now, I really must resume my preparations for Midterms next week :-(.

Don't forget to enter my Zevia giveaway:

P.S. The formatting of this post was supposed to look much better with photos side by side instead of one on top of the other, but when I published it, there wasn't enough room for that :-(.  I need to become more blog literate!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

ZEVIA Review and My First Giveaway!

I'm finally hosting my first giveaway!  I'm so excited to see the kind of response I'll get!  I was lucky enough to be sent a mixed case of the following six Zevia flavors (Black Cherry, Orange, Ginger Ale, Cola, Twist and Root Beer) to sample and review free of charge :-).   I'm sure many of you have seen other reviews of Zevia floating around the blogosphere, and now I'm adding my own 2 cents.  This time I decided not to take pictues of every can though, since I thought it'd get a little boring.  Besides, Zevia has such great photos available on their website.  Here is what they look like:

And here is a little information about Zevia, which I took directly from their website ( "ZEVIA is the first all natural zero calorie soda. With only pure ingredients, ZEVIA contains none of the chemically processed artificial sugar substitutes, artificial flavors or artificial colors found in other diet sodas. ZEVIA is all-natural, has zero calories, zero net carbs, zero fat, and little or no sodium (depending on flavor)."
Sounds too good to be true, right?!  Well, it's not!  This soda is truly a great alternative to regular or diet soda.  It gives you that sweet carbonated taste without the calories and other junk.  They are also pretty satisfying and even filling, which was a pleasant surprise.  My favorite flavor was Root Beer, so I included my own pic of it for you :-).

Now, before I rate the sodas, I would like to say that I haven't actually had any regular or diet sodas for about 3 years.  So I was kind of shocked by the carbonation and fiz in all the flavors, but I know that's normal for soda... just not something I'm used to... let's just say I had a case of the burps afterwards ;-).

That said, I still give the Root Beer an 8 out of 10.  It was the best flavor and tasted like what I remember root beer tasting like :-).  I give both the Black Cherry and Cola a 7.5 out of 10.  They were both good, just not as good.  And I give the Orange, Ginger Ale, and Twist 7 out of 10.  These flavors just didn't appeal to me as much.  Of course, I never really was a big fan of orange or Sprite (like the Twist flavor) sodas.  The Ginger Ale did taste really good at first, mimicing the characteristic tang of ginger ale while being just a bit more mellow.  The only problem was that it had a slightly weird aftertaste that I couldn't quite put my finger on.  

Overall, the flavors matched their names and were a nice treat.  I'd definitely suggest trying them for yourself, especially if you're a regular soda drinker since I think this would be a healthy alternative.  

So, now for YOUR chance to win some Zevia.  Zevia has generously offered to give THREE of my reader's a chance to try Zevia for themselves.  Two readers will receive a mixed six-pack of Zevia and One Grand Prize Winner will receive an entire mixed case of Zevia!  This giveaway is only open to U.S. Residents though, and you must be 18+ to enter.

How to enter:
Leave a comment below and let me know why you want to try Zevia.

For extra entries:
Post a link to this giveaway on your blog and comment below with the link to the blog post in which you do this. (one entry)
Add my blog to your blogroll and comment below with a link to your blog. (one entry)

The contest ends on March 2, 2010.  The winners will be chosen at random via generator and will be posted on my blog. Only one person per household may enter.  The winners will have 72 hours to respond by e-mail with his/her shipping address and phone number or another winner will be chosen. Contest is open to U.S. Residents, 18 and older only. Each entry must be submitted in a separate comment. 

Good luck!

You can check out Zevia's blog here:
Zevia's website:
Zevia on twitter:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Raw Crunch Bar Review!

I've seen quite a bit about the Raw diet lately and thought it'd be nice to try some raw products for myself and see what this craze is all about. The wonderful Kathy Feldman was generous enough to send me the following package to sample and review:

I sat down and read Kathy's book The Raw Crunch Diet right away to see what her particular stance was on a raw diet. Her book was a nice, quick, and fairly easy read with good information backed up by her twelve years of experience in the fields of corrective and high performance exercise health and nutrition. She really does know her stuff! You can learn more about her, this diet, and her products all at I encourage you to check it out! I truly enjoyed her book and could see how much she cared about this diet. There were also many positive remarks on her website and in the book commenting on other peoples' good experiences with the diet. I think I might have to try it too! It's not too extreme and it allows for a balanced diet in addition to treats here and there. I'll have to wait until the summer or later though when my life isn't quite so hectic and I'm no longer reliant on dorm food each and every day :-). The exercise video also looks great! Unfortunately, my mom has my stability ball and I haven't been able to try it out yet. When I do I'll let you know how it is from personal experience :-).

And now for reviews on the bars themselves! I was a little hesitant, but not too much since the ingredient lists for the bars looked great. The first bar I tried was Chocolate. I give it an 8.5 out of 10. The hardest part was opening the wrapper - these bars are sealed tightly! They're VERY fresh though with a nice aroma and a great crunch. I loved the pieces of chocolate and the hint of raw honey - the perfect amount of sweetness. I also loved all the nuts and seeds. My only complaint would be the overwhelming abundance of sesame seeds. I guess I'm not a huge fan of their flavor, and it was a tad bit overpowering in these bars. Still, overall I really enjoyed them, and they were all quite filling for only 150 calories. And full of healthy fats too! Here are some pics from the box itself first:

The above picture shows the flavors and some info. on the bars (you can click on the picture to blow it up!). The picture below shows a little letter from Kathy and Ross.

And here are the nutrition facts, which are basically the same for each bar since the base is the same for all the bars. All bars are 150 calories, and the ingredients are basically the same too except for the advertised flavor (ie. the cranberry bar has cranberries instead of chocolate).

I give the Blueberries bar an 8 out of 10 too. Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits, and this bar had a nice smattering of little bits of blueberry that had a relatively strong flavor.

I give the Goji Berries bar an 8 out of 10. This was my first time trying goji berries and they were great - kind of like a sweet wine flavor and quite strong!

I give the Cranberry flavor a 7.5 out of 10. This one gets a little lower score because I would've liked just a bit stronger cranberry flavor.

Overall, I liked the chocolate best. Chocolate really seemed to go with the nuts and seeds well, and I actually started to have a mini dark chocolate bar to eat with the other flavored raw crunch bars. Nuts just seem to need chocolate to accompany them ;-).

Anyway, after this experience, I'll definitely be on the lookout for more raw products and recipes since I think they can be quite delicious and healthy.
And a question for you all: Are you watching the Olympics?
Personally, I'm not since I'm pretty overwhelmed with school work. I do see some of the highlights on my MSN homepage though :-).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oats in a Jar - 2nd time

Hello all! I hope you're all staying warm during this crazy winter! I wanted to share my second OIAJ experience since the first one didn't go so well. I will say that this time it was better - mainly because of the jar's structure. The base of my Crazy Richard's Peanut Butter jar was much smoother, with fewer crevices for oats and PB to get stuck as I cleaned out the very bottom (this was the main problem last time). Otherwise, I had the same ingredients: .5c oats, 1 banana, 2 tbsp. flax seed, and of course PB! The only thing I still need is a longer spoon, then this will work even better! So, there will be more OIAJ in my future - but only if I deem the container conducive to scooping PB & oats out of it :-). Here's the pic:

And here are some more winter pics taken this past week at Iowa State!

And now back to my homework! This is by far my busiest semester (which I suppose makes sense since it's my last semester of undergrad). Ah well, I'm learning lots of useful stuff so I'll just keep trucking along :-). And I'll keep doing mini yoga sessions to help keep me sane!
I think I'll start posting questions occassionally after my blog posts too, so here goes: What are your reactions to Jillian Michaels being sued over the weight loss supplement pills she promotes? Here's one article I found on it:
My answer is that while I don't know much about the legality of it all or whether there are really grounds upon which to sue, I do believe that a legitimate complaint has been made. I don't think Jillian should have been advertising pills as they are a quick fix at best. Permanent weight loss should be achieved with healthy food choices and exercise if at all possible since that is most likely to lead to a healthy lifestyle change that can be maintained.
AND check out a cool fitness giveaway hosted by April:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tea Tasting!

Mighty Leaf Tea Company sent me two tea flavors to sample and review. You should definitely check out their website here: While their prices are a bit higher than store bought tea, they do have a good sale section. They'll also send you 2 free sample tea pouches with every purchase. And their tea is superb, as you'll find out in my reviews.

I first tried Chocolate Mint Truffle. I give it a 9 out of 10. Honestly, this is the best tea (in a bag or pouch) I've ever had! It's is a flavored herbal tea with a blend of chocolate cacao nibs, mint, and rooibos leaves. It was so smooth and rich, and it had a wonderful "chocolaty" aroma when I opened the bag. The tea tasted somewhat complex, and I was pleased to notice the slight hint of mint. I liked the aftertaste too, for it was light and pleasant, unlike previous teas I've had. Granted, the only previous teas I have tried have been pretty cheap like Lipton and Bigelow (not that these teas are bad - they're just not as high of quality I think). Here are my pics:

Is this not the sweetest pouch ever?! I've never seen anything like it before - it's silken!

I next tried Orange Dulce, a flavored black tea with bergamot, orange, vanilla and jasmine blossoms. I give this a 9.5 out of 10! It had a rich aroma, and I picked up on the hints of vanilla and orange - yum! It was sooo smooth too and again it was better than other teas I've tried. Here are the pics for your viewing pleasure:

So, now I know the difference between cheap tea and more expensive tea. Now I really want to go out there and try more brands and flavors, especially Celestial Seasonings since everyone keeps talking it up.

And in other news, there's supposed to be another winter storm here in Iowa :-(. I am REALLY ready for spring now, and I'm guessing everyone out East is too! Ah well, I'll just keep doing my exercises inside, using the elliptical and workout videos. I know I'll relish my first run outside though once the weather improves!

To keep my spirits uplifted for the time being, I've got a beach picture for my computer screen saver. Since it might be subject to copyright though, I'll leave you with this field of flowers I got from Picapp, a place where you can get free, legal pictures for your blog - good to know I think :-).