My box contained *drum roll*... a bag of freeze-dried Asian pears, pumpkin seeds, raw carrot cake cookies, dark chocolate fig bars, all-natural raspberry licorice twist, berry tea, a chocolate brownie bar, and apple butter. This basically took care of all of my snack cravings for a good two weeks. This was an amazing survival kit of sorts for someone who gives into snacks all too often. Did I mention that I took all the bars with me on the plane trip to New Orleans? Yeah, those fig bars were awesome. They're rich and have just a slight tart hint from the fig. I can't wait to get these for myself! The carrot cake cookies were yummy. I had the chocolate version of these in my office "snack drawer" and munched on them guiltlessly because they're raw and contain so little calories.
Let me just tell you right now that I've loved apple butter for the longest time. What I should also tell you is that I felt like crap each time I spread it over toast or anything because it was just jam-packed (get it? ha...) with sugar. This jar of all-natural apple butter is super healthy. I combined it with almond butter on toast and it was an awesome breakfast. I'm looking for other ways to use it and so far I'm thinking of using it in a french toast stuffing and possibly in muffins. But, I'm trying to not limit myself to just breakfast recipes. I did make some apple butter muffins--recipe and post to come soon! They were delicious, but I need to add some adjustments because I tried to make them gluten-free (who has tips for gluten-free baking?). I do have a giant jar to use up, after all! Do you have a good apple butter recipe? Send 'em my way and maybe I can concoct some wonderful apple butter creation that will go wonderfully with my cup of Clipper berry tea!
And now I get to talk about my favorite item in the box. When do I not like chocolate? This brownie bar is sweetened with agave and made with dates. Now, I've seen a ton of brownie recipes online that were healthy because a lot of substitutions were made, ranging from chickpeas to black beans to dates. I have never tried making them because I had this giant fear they were going to taste awful. These Pure bars, however, were delicious. This, to me, was almost as good as picking up a candy bar when I need a snack and a sugar craving is really hitting me bad. I feel that having stuff like this on hand is so helpful when you're trying to stick to a healthy diet. I was trying to eat clean and I needed to shy away from as much refined sugar as possible--an almost impossible feat when your sweet tooth is as bad as mine. Having healthier versions of your favorite foods definitely helps. Thank you so much, Julia, for this wonderful bar!
My penpal was also kind enough to share some recipes with me that incorporated healthy and protein-packed ingredients. These recipes were quick and simple and required virtually zero hard-to-find or expensive specialty ingredients. Winners, in my book!
As for the other items in my box: the pumpkin seeds are still existing and I've eaten handfuls of them as a snack and also used them as salad toppers! The freeze-dried pears were interesting. They were delicious, no doubt, but I've definitely still got to get used to the texture of freeze-dried fruit. I had freeze-dried pineapple and strawberries before and it's something of an acquired taste for me. I'm not afraid to venture into that realm though! I should also mention that the raspberry licorice twist was eaten in, like, 30 seconds. These were more delicious than Twizzlers and much better for you.
I loved my box and I can't wait for September! What was your favorite item in your foodie penpal box?