Kona Kase — A Belated Review

Where has the time gone?? It seems like suddenly the days all flew by. I got the March Kona Kase weeks ago, but time slipped away and I haven’t been able to give you a full review…until now!

The aspect behind the Kona Kase is to bring the latest in health snacks and treats for the health nut every month, all in a convenient box in your mailbox! You can get all these goodies for just $15 a month.

I loved the inspiration saying on one of the cards in the box:

Saying

Anyway, the box had a few new (to me, at least) items, and a couple that I had seen before. I’ve tried the CLIF Shot Bloks while I was training for the Run The Bluegrass, but they’ve been hard to find, so I’m excited to stow away the cran-razz flavor for when I’m able to get back into training! And the Clif Bar Crunch Granola Bar was a nice change for my mid-morning snack at work.

Case

The other yummies included:

Suncups: I absolutely love creamy caramel and chocolate! These are like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, only with caramel, and organic.

TCHO: Inside the box I had four different flavors of chocolate from San Francisco. PureNotes Dark Chocolate (with subtle “nutty” notes), SeriousMilk “Classic” Milk Chocolate with caramel notes, PureNotes Dark Chocolate, and SeriousMilk Cacao Milk Chocolate with lush and fudgy notes. The “notes” were definitely subtle in each flavor. I was a little disappointed in the lack of “nutty notes” in the one flavor (I love nuts in chocolate), but the Cacao Milk Chocolate was smooth and flavorful.

NutButterWild Friends Nut Butter: I’ve never had sunflower seed nut butter, and this was chocolate-flavored, but it was delicious! Especially with my crisp Jazz apple, it made for a great snack at work. I love the pouches because it makes packing easy.

BruBar: An all natural energy bar some times means not the sweetest or the prettiest looking, but it wasn’t too bad. These bars are vegan, with whole grains. I snacked on some before CrossFit one day and it was what I needed to push through a WOD.

Everything packed in this fun, orange box, is perfect to fuel you on the go. I wish I had a hiking trip I could have packed all of this into a bag for, but instead I just spread them out throughout the month!

If you’re interested in trying Kona Kase for yourself, hit up their website for more information.

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March Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

In March I decided to join a program called the Foodie Pen Pals (FPP). I had read a few different posts about the program a while ago, and I loved the idea of getting new and different foods from someone in another part of the country, and sharing some things with another.

The person I got to send treats to was Lisa, a physician assistant in Texas, who is on a vegan, gluten-free diet. I have to admit, I don’t have any experience with veganism, and very little experience with gluten-free diets. My grandfather had Celiac Disease towards the end of his life, and at the time there was hardly anything that was gluten-free that was close to tasty. Nowadays, it’s easier to eat gluten-free. So the program forced me out of my comfort zone to find goodies to send to Lisa, but it was a fun shopping trip.

I received an email from Cindy introducing herself to me as my FPP and she had asked a little bit about me so she could send me goodies from her home in Florida. I’m pretty much open to try anything, and I told her so. I was excited to get my package in the mail:

March Foodie Pen Pal Goodies!

March Foodie Pen Pal Goodies!

Inside was goodies from Plant City, Fla., the “strawberry capital of Florida” (strawberry rhubarb jam? Yes, please!), Amish made honey (how’d she know I was running low on honey?), chocolates, Pim’s cookies, Jelly Belly jelly beans, and one item that actually caught my breath.

Growing up, my grandparents on my dad’s side would give us a sugar egg every year around Easter. I always loved my sugar eggs because I was enthralled with how they got the little chick (or bunny) inside this fragile sugar egg. Cindy had included one of those eggs just as a little extra Easter spirit.

Segar Egg

Segar Egg

She included a jar of Cannon’s Country Gourmet Strawberry Rhubarb jam. I couldn’t wait to break open into this (have I mentioned how much I love anything strawberry?) and had some with my whole wheat biscuits and chili Sunday last weekend. It’s delicious–not too sweet, just right.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam & Honey

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam & Honey

The chocolates are from Angell & Phelps, a small family-owned chocolate factory in Cindy’s hometown. Cindy said it was a lot like a trip down memory lane when she visits the shop.

Beautiful handmade chocolates!

Beautiful handmade chocolates!

The Pim’s cookies are European biscuits with raspberry preserves on top and a layer of chocolate coating the top. They look delicious!

The entire box has been enticing me throughout the month of March. I haven’t been able to really try much of the contents because I gave up chocolate for Lent. But now I’m savoring every piece of this silky, smooth chocolate.

Want to get in on the action? You can still sign up for April!

Here are a few details about Foodie Penpals. 

-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 & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. 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 from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 

You must submit your information by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on April 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.

Snow Play and Jerky Chocolate

It’s been a nice weekend! After recuperating from my 10-mile run in the snow for a few hours yesterday, I took the pups out to play some snow tennie (snow + tennis ball = snow tennie when they cake it with snow!):

Dally says, "Gimme that ball!"

Dally says, “Gimme that ball!”

SnowTennie2

SnowTennie3

Then M and I met some friends for a late lunch/early dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. I tried their Black Bean Burger and it was delicious! I’m pushing myself to try new, healthy things, and this burger was awesome–I totally recommend it! Afterwards we went bowling for a couple of hours. It wasn’t the romantic anniversary dinner I was looking forward to, but it was a good time and good to get out and be active with friends with all the snow/ice on the ground.

Speaking of anniversary, M got me a dozen roses with day lilies and a couple of bags of M&M’s to celebrate! It’s been a while since I’ve gotten flowers, and I was touched. They’re so pretty!

I was surprised with pretty flowers Friday night! (BTW, love our "guestbook" from our wedding?)

I was surprised with pretty flowers Friday night! (BTW, love our “guestbook” from our wedding?)

If only you could smell through the computer screen...

If only you could smell through the computer screen…

I got M a bag of jalapeño beef jerky and a special chocolate bar that I thought was weird, but was actually a big hit–jerky milk chocolate bar. He loved it. (Yes, odd gift selections, but I wanted to find some things that were off-the-wall but something he’d enjoy, and he did!)

Beef Jerky Chocolate? As funky as it sounds, it was pretty good--not real sweet, but savory and tasty.

Beef Jerky Chocolate? As funky as it sounds, it was pretty good–not real sweet, but savory and tasty.

Now we’re working on putting together some grub for the Super Bowl. M and I are huge football fans, and even if the Colts aren’t in the big game, we’ll still watch it. I watch for the commercials and the game (unless it’s pretty lopsided). M’s got some chili simmering on the stove, and I’m about to attempt some sweet potato bites–recipe soon. A couple of friends will be bringing some sides and snacks, including kale chips! (I’ve been wanting to try fresh kale chips for a while–report to you soon.) M and I will be cheering for the 49ers–Jim Harbough used to be “Captain Comeback” for the Colts, so there’s our Colts connection.

Who are you cheering for in the Super Bowl?

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while, so finally, here it is:

One night we invited friends over for an impromptu dinner. Usually these dinners involve each party bringing something for the dinner/desert. No one said anything about desert, and I had a bit of a sweet craving, so I was trying to find something that I could make quickly and not a lot. I grabbed my bag of dark chocolate M&M’s and found a recipe for dark chocolate brownies on the back. I decided to switch it up some and make my own, and they were a big hit.

Combine the gooey-ness of the warm peanut butter with the melted dark chocolate chips & you've got heaven in a bite!

Combine the gooey-ness of the warm peanut butter with the melted dark chocolate chips & you’ve got heaven in a bite!

(I halved the original recipe because I didn’t want to make a whole batch, plus I was doing brownie bites, not brownie bars. You can double this to make more if you’d like.)

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/6 of a cup of butter, cut into pieces
1 tbsp water
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/8 cup whole wheat flour
Nut butter (I used peanut butter)
Extra dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease muffin tin with baking butter spray.
  2. Heat the dark chocolate chips, sugar, butter, and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring consistently, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Pour into medium bowl.
  3. Stir in the egg with a wire whisk until blended, then add vanilla. Add flour and salt and stir well. Add in a couple more dark chocolate chips (and nuts, if you’d like).
  4. Fill the muffin cups with 1 spoonful of the mixture first. Then add a dollop of nut butter in the middle and cover with more brownie mix.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The mixture of the melty chips and gooey peanut butter is amazing!