Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Product Review: Yum Yum Healthy Bars & Snacks Variety Pack

I am a big fan of snacks. Especially salty ones. Especially salty ones that I can claim as somewhat healthy. So I was very excited at the opportunity to review this Yum Yum Healthy Snacks Box.

It arrived in a white box with a cute logo on the top:

Inside, the box was filled with a great variety of health snacks, mostly breakfast-y. The majority were some sort of granola bar type product, but there typically weren't more than a couple of any given flavor. There were also some fig bars and breakfast bites that I've never tried before and some of my already-favorites -- the Breakfast Biscuits and the Planters Nuts.

This Snack Box retails for $39.95 on Amazon and contains 35 individual snacks. I haven't priced it out to determine the value versus buying all of these from the grocery store, but the best part is the variety. To purchase that many different items from the store would be expensive and you'd have a lot of boxes in your pantry! The alternative is a giant box of one thing from Costco, but then you're stuck eating the same thing everyday. Variety is the spice of life, they say, and this box has it!

I'm planning on using most of these for Tom's lunches, to give him a snack for the workday. I think it would make a great gift, though, and the box is cute enough on its own.  It would be super fun as a gift for a college student (heck, I'm 31 and I'd think it's a great gift!) and would add some fun variety to kids' lunches, too.

Lots to choose from!

I'm looking forward to eating some of these myself, too! It'll provide some good options for on-the-go snacking. Overall, this is a very fun box filled with lots of tasty treats -- that really aren't bad for you, either! Bonus!

I love snacks!! Yum yum!

**Note: I received this product for free in exchange for a review with my honest opinion.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Happy Birthday Happy

I thought focusing on this verse this week would be appropriate since we are celebrating our dog Happy's third birthday. I think it's interesting how one's attitude and actions toward animals is indicative of his actions towards people -- but this proverb turns it around from the way I usually think of it. You often hear of young boys who torture animals who grow up to be violent or abusive men. The cruelty they show to animals even from a young age extends into their attitudes and actions toward people later in life. But the reverse can be seen, too. Think of someone you know who has a soft heart toward animals -- my mom and grandma have always shown extreme kindness toward animals of all types (think: ordering extra food at McDonald's to feed the sea gulls that live in a nearby parking lot; or stopping on the side of a busy road to try to capture a wounded groundhog so you can take him to the vet). And this kindness to animals also reveals their hearts towards people.  It's often in the details of one's life that we can get the bigger picture of who that person really is. And I think it's a good reminder for me to pay attention to how I handle the small and mundane things of life -- because that will likely be how I handle the big and pivotal moments, as well.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pickled Hop Shoots - A Delicious Appetizer!

A few picked baby hop shoots
At the back of my perennial garden is a special garden space that really belongs to Tom. This is where his hops grow -- with the bines growing up twine that reaches to the roof of our garage where they can then expand out sideways. Hops grow fast. Really fast. The shoots come out of the ground pretty early in the spring, too. You're only supposed to let a few of the shoots grow on each plant in order for them to be the most productive. We learned last year that the young hop shoots are edible and are sometimes called "poor man's asparagus".  That said, I also read recently that hop shoots are the most expensive vegetable in the world to buy. Perhaps because you only have a few days a year to harvest them before they get too large. Anyways, I never did anything with ours last year, but I wanted to try cooking them this year. Many people recommend sauteing them like you would asparagus. Then I found a couple of recipes for pickled hop shoots. Now, pickling isn't normally my thing, but for some reason, I wanted to try this. I found this recipe that I adapted mine off of.

Divide and Conquer and Other Spring Garden Happenings

Spring came early this year. Then it quickly faded back into winter -- jumping to summer for a couple days and then back to winter. Kind of feels like the changing of the seasons in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Adding to My Learning

Going back to the theme of this blog, you might guess that this is a proverb of importance to me. I understand the importance of learning and I have a strong drive to always be learning something new. But there's a part of this verse that has always been very hard for me. See below with my added emphasis:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Planning and Plotting this Year's Garden

The first crocus of the season - Spring is coming!
Every winter, I have a tendency to hibernate. The cold and I don't get along very well. The past couple years, I made a concerted effort to get out and enjoy winter and the snow for what it is -- and we actually had a lot of fun skiing, ice skating and even walking in the winter. This year, however, I've felt pretty lethargic. It's been a mild winter, which means that the weather hasn't been very conducive to winter activities, yet it's still been cold and cloudy. So what can bring sunshine and cheer on a grey winter day? Well, garden planning, of course! 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Heart Check: Above All Else

For my 31st birthday, I decided to write down 31 of my favorite proverbs, or wise sayings from the Bible that I had been studying.  This year, I am hoping to take a deeper dive into each of them and share some thoughts on them with you here.

The book of Proverbs in the bible is full of instructions for living and wisdom for daily life. But one instruction stands above all else: guard your heart. The heart is our deepest self, our true self that we are commissioned to keep safe. Everything we do flows from our hearts. It's the essence of who we are. So how do we guard that and keep it safe?