AquaFina Flavorsplash Sparkling Berry Loco

I’m always on the hunt for a new flavorful zero calorie beverage. I enjoy water, but sometimes it can get plain old boring … so I picked up the new AquaFina Flavorsplash Sparkling Berry Loco which is a four berry blended sparkling water. I’m not the biggest fan of sparkling waters, but there are a handful that I truly enjoy … and since this was a different flavor I had high hopes.
Unfortunately those high hopes were smashed to smithereens after the second sip. The first sip I thought it tasted okay … the second sip brought on a wave of complete and utter disgust.  It’s mildly bubbly carbonated water with disgusting artificial flavoring. It was so bad I screwed the cap back on the bottle and threw it right into the garbage.  I’m glad I only purchased 1 bottle to try because I won’t be wasting money buying any more flavors.
Of course a bottle of 0 calorie or 0 points plus.

Stride Sour Patch Kids Lime Sugar Free Gum

I was super excited when I spotted and picked up the Red Berry Sour Patch Kid gum, but I was put onto a hunt when I found out there was a lime flavor available.  So that set me on a mission which I continuously came up empty handed for … until I went to Target.  That’s when I stumbled upon a 3-pack of the Stride Sour Patch Kids Lime Sugar Free Gum in the candy aisle.
Like the Red Berry, the gum itself smells EXACTLY like Sour Patch Kids. The scent alone leaves one with their mouth watering. Popping the gum in my mouth I immediately get that sour flavoring, but as you chew it gets sweeter and tastes just like lime … and just like a sour patch kid. I truthfully think the lime tastes better than the red berry, which is surprising because with the actual candy itself the red is my favorite.
These are sold in single packages and in 3-packs.  The 3-pack of course being cost effective.  The gum is <5 calories a serving.

Extra Dessert Delights Peach Cobbler Sugar Free Gum

Finding new and unique flavored gum is truthfully like hitting the lottery. I love having gum on hand because they’re flavorful, they satisfy any oral fixation and they keep me busy chewing gum instead of snacking away on other items if I’m feeling snacky.  While standing in the checkout in Walgreen’s I noticed there was a new gum available, so I picked up the Extra Dessert Delights Peach Cobbler Sugar Free Gum.
I’m a fan of the Extra Dessert Delights because the gum truly does taste like a dessert. I like that it can give me the flavor of a dessert in a non-guilty form. The gum taste like peach cobbler – not necessarily the crust, but it tastes like the peach filling with a very mild, mild cinnamon flavor in the background. It smells like a peach market, which makes your mouth water a bit before even popping a stick of gum in your mouth.
Without a doubt a great addition to the Extra Dessert Delights line!

Stride Sour Patch Kids Red Berry Gum

Checking out at a local grocery store, I had to do a triple take. I saw the classic sour patch kid on a package … but before me was gum, that’s when I noticed it was Stride Sour Patch Kids Red Berry Gum. GUM!? I grabbed a pack and put it on the conveyer belt … I was sold on the packaging’s claim alone.
It wasn’t until I opened the package that I was immediately sold on the product itself. Unwrapping the plastic wrapping I was awarded instantly with that classic sweet berry red sour patch kid scent. It smells JUST LIKE Sour Patch Kids, which was mind blowing. Popping it in my mouth … I have to say, it tastes JUST LIKE Sour Patch Kids! It’s sour yet sweet.  It did make my face pucker momentarily as is the case when anything sour hits my taste buds.  The sourness dissipates quickly and hat’s when the red berry flavor is at the forefront. While simply just chewing the gum the berry flavor is noticeable, but when going to blow a bubble your taste buds are awarded with that tangy sour flavor.  The overall flavor of the gum lasts about 10 minutes and after that it tastes like a very mild, mild berry flavor. Nonetheless totally worth it for the guilt free Sour Patch Kid experience.
As wit all sugar free gums, each piece of gum is less than 5 calories and is 0 points plus values.
Have you spotted and/or tried the Stride Sour Patch Kids Red Berry gum?

Nestle Fat Free Hot Cocoa

I’ve been searching high and low for the Nestle Fat Free Hot Cocoa but continuously came up empty handed because for some reason Swiss Miss is the hot cocoa mix of choice on many grocery retailers’ shelves.  I specifically wanted to pick this up because it’s more of a guilt free hot cocoa in comparison to other brands. I found this in my local grocery store one afternoon because they brought the brand in because they were completely out of Swiss Miss diet and sugar free.
Since it was a very cold night, I decided to make myself a cup of hot cocoa. I boiled my water, emptied the cocoa package into my mug. When done I stirred it up and gave it a sip … and was pleasantly surprised.  The cocoa is chocolately but it’s not creamy – so if you’re looking for something as creamy as say a Swiss Miss you won’t find it here. Considering the nutrition facts I’ll take it because it’s one of those products that can curb a chocolate craving.  I’ve also been told this is great to add to coffee to help sweeten it up without needing to add sugar/creamer. While I’ve heard it’s also good to incorporate with whipped cream or yogurt. I plan on giving that a try sometime soon!
A single packet is 20 calories or 0 points plus values.
What is your favorite hot cocoa mix?

Trader Joe’s Coffee Cups – Medium Roast K-Cups

If you have a Keurig machine, you know the cost of k-cups. That little cup containing a single serving of coffee can get pretty pricey, especially if they’re not on a really good sale. I realize bags of coffee are far cheaper, but it’s the convenience factor that sucks me and possibly a large number of other folks in.  So when I saw these Trader Joe’s Coffee Cups in Medium Roast I picked them up.
Each box contains 7 individually wrapped k-cups, which sell for $2.99 a box. The cups aren’t your standard plastic k-cup; they have a mesh bottom with a clear plastic lid. I have to say I really like this packaging because I was anticipating it to be similar to the New England coffee k-cups.  The New England k-cups have a mesh bottom and a plastic top, but they’re all in a pouch together which doesn’t exactly keep the coffee in the freshest of forms. At least with the Trader Joe coffee it can sit in its box and each cup will be as fresh as the last because they’re sealed.  Great thinking, Trader Joe’s!
After brewing my first cup I was a little apprehensive. I’m a light roast type-a-gal and I find some medium roasts are too much for me to handle. I gave it a sip when black and found it to be a bit strong, so I added a little extra water, my artificial sweetener and a splash of milk and I was quite surprised. It was really good.  The next day I had one without the extra water and found it to be a very pleasant, smooth cup of coffee. I have to say, I’m a big fan of this product!
I already have this on my Trader Joe’s shopping list to pick up a box or two next time.
What is your favorite type of coffee?

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BzzCampaign: Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified

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I was invited to take part in a BzzAgent campaign for Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified. I opted in because I am undoubtedly a coffee lover and was looking forward to trying out the new flavor.  I don’t mind paying a little more for a cup of coffee that’s going to help in making a difference.
October is Fair Trade Month and Green Mountain stands behind fair trade coffee pretty faithfully. Fair Trade ensures farmers get a fair price for their beans (meaning coffee manufactures aren’t nickel and diming the farmers).  By doing this farmer are able to improve working conditions, invest in their crops, while there’s also assistance in protecting the environment, while it also aids in supporting the community aiding in creating new schools, roads, drinking water, etc. Simply put “Fair Trade means great coffee for you and a better life for farmers.”
This year Kelly Clarkson teamed up with Green Mountain to aid in presenting Fair Trade coffee to the world.  In doing this Kelly Clarkson was able to visit some of the coffee farms. With that Green Mountain created a limited edition Three Continent Blend.  This blend is a delicious blend of beans from Asia, South America and Africa.  The coffee itself is listed as a medium roast that’s extra bold.
I brewed myself a cup of Three Continent Blend and I found it to be delicious. Smooth yet mildly bold. I didn’t find it to be overwhelming on the taste buds, particularly because I’m a light roast type-a-gal. With a packet of sweetener and a little milk it was quite an enjoyable cup.

Carnival Squash

I am a bit fan of squash – it’s a vegetable I tend to eat all year round, but during the fall/winter months I have them more often because it’s a homey and delicious side dish.  So while at Trader Joe’s I spotted the Carnival Squash and decided to pick one up.  I figured due to its shape it had to be similar to the acorn squash … and I was right.
Carnival Squash is a winter squash which has a noticeable look to it – it’s yellow and green and the coloring can be “splattered” throughout or it will have green coloring running through the yellow.  The rind is thicker so it’s not a skin you could eat. The label on the squash stated you could pierce it a few times with a fork and cook it in the microwave, then slice, remove the seeds, stuff and finish cooking. But I opted to go with my handy oven roasting method.  I cut my squash in half, removed the seeds, gave it a light sprinkling of salt and pepper, then after a few sprays of butter I put it into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
My squash was cooked through and was perfect. The flesh tastes sweeter than acorn, almost reminiscent of a sweet potato and holds up nicely. I definitely enjoyed this and will pick it up again I spot it while out shopping.
What is your favorite type of squash?

Delicata Squash

While at Trader Joe’s I spotted the Delicata Squash and picked one up. I happen to love squash and I had never tried this particular type so I was a little excited.  While checking out the cashier had let me know that because the skin on the squash is so thin, if roasted, you can eat the skin.
Delicata squash is a yellow squash with green, almost, lining/spotting running throughout the skin.  It’s a winter squash and can truly be cooked in any way you enjoy – roasted, microwaved, steamed or sautéed.  I decided to go with the roasting method because that’s how I most enjoy my squashes.  I cut the squash in half, scooped out the seeds and put them skin side down on a baking sheet and put them into a 350 degree oven for roughly 30 minutes.
They came out perfect. Nice and tender, the skins were soft (and edible, I was quite surprised). It tastes of squash, but it’s a sweet squash and is a little reminiscent of sweet potato.  It was perfect plain as is which is how I ended up eating mine. From what I’ve heard you could even stuff these with whatever you choose and have a delicata squash boat.  I enjoyed it so much when I go to Trader Joe’s this week I plan on picking up at least a few more.
Do you have a favorite squash?

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Herbal Blend Tea

I’m sure many of you have read how much I enjoy pumpkin-things especially in the fall/winter months. So with that I was given a tin of Trader Joe`s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Herbal Blend Tea and I got that giddy child feeling when you get something you typically love but haven’t tried.
The moment you open the metal canister you get a nice fragrant smell — pumpkin, nutmeg and a little cinnamon. It just has a very homey and delicious scent. After reading the ingredients, I was a little hesitant because the tea does have clove in it and I just happen to not be a huge clove fan.  Thankfully, I have found after trying the tea, the clove taste doesn’t come through very much otherwise this would have been a complete miss for me
I prepared my tea as I would any other.  Boiled the water in my tea kettle, poured it over the tea pouch and let it steep for about 5 minutes. I then removed the tea bag and added in one packet of artificial sweetener and gave it a whirl. I have to say, this was really delicious. The flavors blended together nicely and there was a hint of all the flavors present (cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, etc), but not one stood out more than the pumpkin flavor. Which is appreciated.
Do you like pumpkin tea?