This Week’s Top Five; Product Reviews Galore

I didn’t plan on doing a bulk review, I just happened to use a lot of new product samples this week.  It works out well for those of you who hate product reviews because you can just skip this post and miss a whole set at once.

Disclosure – all of the starred (**) items in this post were provided to me gratis to review.  I was not given further compensation for this post.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Reminder – I only tasted one flavor each of the sauces and teas; I will continue to blog about the other varieties as I try them.

{1} Starbuck’s Chicken Santa Fe Sandwich


Not a freebie, just a product I’m obsessed with.  I don’t even have them heat it up!  The combo of crispy bell peppers, chewy flatbread, and creamy green-chile spread is so darn tasty.

{2} Pumpkin coconut chia yogurt bowl


This was the week’s best lunch, though that’s not much of a victory considering the fact that I ate cold pizza at my desk for lunch on two separate occasions.  TJ’s coconut yogurt with pumpkin puree, roasted coconut chips, and chia seeds.

{3} Arbonne Essentials Protein Shake Mixes**


While I don’t think that protein powders are necessary for most people – you can meet your needs with whole foods! – I acknowledge that they can be a good option when you are in a rush or eating on the go.  I am never going to bring eggs on the train but I can certainly pack a smoothie for my commute.  Each packet provides 20 grams of vegan protein and 2 grams of fiber for 160 calories and 3.5 grams of unsaturated fat.  <– mixed in a glass of cow’s milk that would provide more than 50% of my protein needs for the day.

Making protein smoothies is exactly what I did this week.  Vanilla protein powder with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and ice.


The next day was the same, but with chocolate.  And with a chocolate cranberry biscotti on the side.


These certainly did fill me up, I didn’t even have room for coffee one day.  I thought the flavor was passable but not fantastic, but it is worth noting that these powders are sweetened with cane sugar and stevia and I generally can’t stand the taste of stevia.  I haven’t tried the daily fiber mix yet but I will report back when I do.

{4} Adagio Teas**

Adagio is a company that sells loose-leaf teas sourced directly from Artisan farmers.  Their product selection is divided up very helpfully, the website lists teas by type (white, black, oolong, etc, including a variety of tea blends) and they have several sampler variety packages as well as the option to purchase a small sample of each type of tea (and they list the cost per cup for each option).  Also cool?  There is a section of the site where consumers can design and list their own blends and there is an immense selection of fandom blends.  I basically had a heart attack over all the Supernatural and Buffy options but I decided to stick with the simpler stuff for now.

Adagio offered me a gift certificate and I was able picked a variety of teas.  I also ordered some paper filters to brew them in.  <– I’m sold, the filters were easy to pack and worked perfectly.



I don’t usually drink a ton of tea (duh, I’m a coffee fanatic!) but I’m hoping including a cup or two in the afternoon at work will help me to get closer to actually drinking enough water each day.  This week I packed my paper filters with Earl Grey Moonlight.



Since the tea is loose you can see the citrus rind and blue cornflowers in with the black tea leaves which I thought was fun.  It was no coffee, but this was the best Earl Grey I’ve ever had.  My sample pouch will make 10 very reasonably priced 20 cent cups.  I’m looking forward to teatime next week.

{5} Bertolli Riserva pasta sauces**


The newest line from Bertolli is made with artisanal ingredients and no artificial colors.  The 24 oz bottles retail for ~$5.99 which is comparable to other similar (but less delicious) options.  Flavors include Marinara with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, Balsamic Vinegar with Caramelized Onions, Asiago Cheese with Artichokes,  and Porcini Mushroom with White Truffle Oil.


They all sound pretty wonderful to me but I decided to go simple and try Marinara first.  Each half cup serving has 110 calories.  Unfortunately each serving also has 450 mg of sodium (more than 20% of the no more than 2 grams of sodium most people should limit themselves to each day), but the sauce is so rich and yummy that a little goes a long way – we used the marinara in 5 dinner servings this week and still have a good third of the bottle left.

We let the sauce shine on a plain – but fantastic! – pizza first.  TJ’s frozen crust topped with sauce, fresh mozzarella, and torn fresh basil.


Then we gussied it up with veggies and meat for pasta bowls.


Roasted zucchini and tomato + sautéed ground turkey with basil and yellow onion + tossed with marinara / served on whole-wheat rotini / with sharp cheddar on top.


The final product was full of umami.  These bowls were the best meal of the month!

What was your best meal so far this month?

2 thoughts on “This Week’s Top Five; Product Reviews Galore

  1. Pingback: Turkey Week Eats | Eating Chalk

  2. Pingback: Goodbye, 2015 | Eating Chalk

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