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Birchbox {April 2018}

I’ve always been a fan of subscription boxes.  There’s just something about getting a surprise package in the mail every month that’s just for me.  I finally broke down and started a Birchbox subscription.  For the rare few who may have not heard of Birchbox, it’s a monthly subscription that sends you five sample-sized beauty products.  After hearing so much about it for so long, I decided to give it a go.

When you sign up for Birchbox you complete a Beauty Profile that covers your skin, hair and beauty style and knowledge.  FYI, I’m very low-maintenance with barely any beauty knowledge.  My almost non-existent beauty and make-up routine is very minimalist.

I was hesitant to try Birchbox because the products they send are sample-sized.  However, I have to say that I was impressed with what was sent.  The samples are big enough to get several uses out of each product.  Plus, I also like that if you love one of the products in the box, you can purchase the full-size item through the website.  And the best part, the boxes are only $10 a month! And aren’t the boxes themselves so pretty?!  I plan on keeping these to store things in.

My April 2018 box included:

Beautaniq Beauty: Fill + Tame Brow Gel (full-size $12) – I have never used brow gel and have to admit that I still haven’t tried this.  As far as beauty and makeup go, I’m a super minimalist and brow gel seems a little too much for me.

Dr. Lipp: Miracle Balm (full-size $16.50)- This product is one that would get a lot more use from me in the winter.  That’s when my lips and especially my hands get super dry.  This Miracle Balm is thick and has the consistency of petroleum jelly.  I’ve only used it a couple of times on my lips, but so far, so good.

jane iredale:  Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain in Forever Pink (full-size $25) – I don’t wear blush or “cheek stain.”  I also don’t normally wear lipstick during the week.  If I wear lipstick before going out, I want it to stand out a little bit.  I found this shade to be a little too light for me.  The color was barely noticeable, but gave my lips a little shine.

Marcelle: BB Cream Golden Glow (full-size $29) – As I’ve mentioned, I’m late to the make-up game.  Can I admit that I’ve never used a BB cream until now?!  BB creams have become super popular because they are a multi-functional product.  They moisturize, provide light foundation coverage and many also have sun protection.  I received the Golden Glow shade in my box and have to say that I do like it.  I think I’m a BB cream convert, but am going to experiment with some different brands.

Vasanti:  BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (full-size $34) – I have been using this a couple of times a week in the shower.  I only use a pea size amount each time, so I’ve been able to get a number of uses out of this sample.  I’m not sure I notice a big difference when I use this, so this is something I’d probably not buy the full-size version of.

As you can see, the price of the full-size products of some of these samples are a lot more than I’d be willing to pay to try a product and not know if I’ll love it.  I also believe that as you rate and review your samples, Birchbox can get a better sense of what you like and don’t like.  This will hopefully help your box get better and better each month!  I’m planning on getting the May Birchbox but will likely put my subscription on hold for the summer.

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What was in your April box?

STRONG self(ie) Subscription Box Review

(This STRONG self(ie) quarterly subscription box was provided to NY Foodie Family for review purposes.  As usual, all opinions are our own.)  

Subscription boxes are a lot of fun.  In the past, we’ve received food-related subscription boxes that the whole family could enjoy (MunchPak, Empire Crate, Universal Yums).  Most recently, I signed up for Birchbox and Ipsy as a fun treat for me.  My daughter sees me getting these boxes in the mail and gets as excited as I do to see what’s inside.  When I heard about the STRONG self(ie) subscription box for tween and teen girls, I was very interested.

I was first intrigued by the name of the box – STRONG self(ie).  Just the name is very empowering.  Co-founders and moms Kristen and Stephanie created this subscription box as a means to teach their daughters, “the importance of being strong, confident, and proud of who they are.”

The STRONG self(ie) box is a quarterly box that ships out during the first two weeks in March, June, September and December.  There are two different box choices, BLOOM for ages 8-12 and BURST for ages 13- 17.  Each box includes 4-6 products that inspire girls to be their best self(ie) in four different areas – smart(ie), funn(ie), health(ie) and beaut(ie). Based on the products we received in the spring box, it appears that Kristen and Stephanie try to source many of the products from small start-up and/or family-run businesses.

Each box also goes #beyondthebox and includes a card that showcases a STRONG girl.  The spring box featured 13-year-old Nandi Weziwe Hildebrand and described how she fulfills the four different self(ie) areas.  I also love the note cards included in the box.  There were four cards (pictured above) in the parent envelope that I can give to my daughter, offering words of encouragement and positivity.  There were also four note cards in an envelope for her, that she can give to friends.

The boxes cost $59.95 per quarter.  But readers, you can save 20% off your first box by using code:  “Foodie20”.  You can subscribe or gift a box to your favorite girl.  I think any tween or young teen would enjoy a STRONG self(ie) subscription!

My daughter just turned twelve and the spring BLOOM box was perfect for her!  No joke, it’s like they made this box especially for her.  The spring box included:

BOLD Bandz Headband –  (BEAUT)IE – BOLD Bandz are non-slip headbands that don’t hurt your head.  They come in a variety of designs and patterns.  I’m not sure if the band that we received in the box is a child-size headband.  Although the headband is not supposed to hurt, my daughter complained that it was a bit tight.  I think these headbands would be perfect for girls who play sports and want to keep their hair out of their faces. ($8.99)

Fashion Angels: Organize & Chill Planner – SMART(IE) Since my daughter started middle school last year, organization has been one of her biggest challenges.  I live by my planner and I’m hoping this Fashion Angels planner will help her keep track of her school assignments and after-school activities.  I like that the planner isn’t dated.  Since the school year is almost over, we are debating whether she should hold off on using this until September. ($12.99)

Hayden Girl Ruffle Jacket – FUNN(IE) Having a tween daughter, I can tell you that clothing shop is difficult at this age.  I try not to even mention that I like something because my daughter will automatically not like it!  I have to say that we are both fans of this Molly satin jacket.  She likes the bomber style jacket, I like the feminine details like the ruffle and the color.  This is a size 11/12 and just fits.  She’d probably get more use out of 13/14 but they were out.  I had not heard of Hayden Girls prior to receiving this box, but after checking out their site, I am LOVING all of their clothes!  They have such stylish pieces that are reasonably priced! ($37.95)

Lovely Candy Company:  Sour Honey Gummy Bears – (HEALTH)IE – Sour gummy candies are a family favorite.  We all helped to devour this bag! Lovely is a family owned business and these sour honey gummy bears are one of the most recent additions to their candy line.  These are all-natural gummies made with honey!  So good! ($4.99)

Luv Ur Skin Face Skincare Set – (HEALTH)IE – My daughter has just started getting into the routine of washing her face and moisturizing.  I hadn’t really taken the time to find a skincare line targeted for her age group and she’s been using whatever I use.    This three piece skincare set includes a face wash, a moisturizer and a lip balm, as well as a cloth headband.  My daughter has sensitive skin and had no problems using these products.  I am impressed that the Australian-based company Luv Ur Skin was founded by a 13-year-old girl and uses all-natural ingredients! ($18.50)

Altogether, the value of this box totaled approximately $84, which is more than the $59.99 that you pay for it.  Like I mentioned, my tween daughter was HUGE fan of the STRONG self(ie) box!  Remember, use code “Foodie20” to get 20% off your first box!

 

 

 

 

Empire Crate November 2016 {Subscription Box}

The Empire Crate

Back in November I won an Empire Crate subscription box.  I was super excited since this monthly subscription box is filled with hand-picked food items from all over New York state.  The box costs $39.95 if doing a month to month subscription.  But they offer a three month and six month prepay option which gives a discount on the subscription price.  Inside the box were six different items (one in two different flavors) as well as an information card about the products and producers.  The inside of the box has a map of New York State with an X showing where in the state the different items in the box were produced.  I received the November 2016 box and this is what was included:

Anya's Licorice

Anya’s Real Fruit Licorice – (2 – 1.13 ounce sticks) In the box we received a Strawberry and Mango flavored licorice bar.  Anya’s licorice is made in Brooklyn, New York.  The candy is made in small batches without preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors.  I’m not a licorice fan but enjoyed this candy.  Neither the strawberry or mango flavored bars had a traditional “licorice” flavor.

Emmy's Organics

Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies –  (2 ounce bag, with 3 cookies) Emmy’s Organics was started by Ian and Samantha in 2009 when they started selling their coconut cookies at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market.  They make several different varieties of coconut cookies including chocolate chip, vanilla bean, raspberry and lemon ginger.  We received the dark cacao variety in the box.  The two ounce bag had three cookies in it.  These cookies are vegan, gluten free and made from organic ingredients as well as fair trade organic cocoa powder.  Unfortunately, I’m not a big coconut fan, unless it’s on a Girl Scout Samoa cookie or in Haagen-Dazs Pineapple Coconut ice cream.  So, these cookies weren’t my thing.  However, my husband and son ate them up!

Martin's Handmade Pretzels

Martin’s Handmade Pretzels –  (box of four pretzels) Martin’s pretzels are handmade using only four ingredients.  These hard pretzels are super light and crunchy.  Four pretzels were included in the box we received.  Unfortunately, all but one (luckily, one was photo-worthy!) were broken in pieces.  From what I’ve read online, the company is based in New York City. However, I believe the pretzels are actually made in Pennsylvania and sold at several NYC Greenmarkets.  Otherwise, you can purchase the pretzels online, where a 3 lb box, available in either whole wheat or traditional costs $14.29.   We thought the pretzels weren’t bad, but probably wouldn’t go out of our way to get them again.

Partyka Farms Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Partyka Farms Pumpkin Seeds – (3 oz. bag) Jeff and Lora Partyka have 900 acres of family farm land in Kendall, New York.  The farm sells fruit and vegetables and has a store that sells baked goods, jellies and of course, their pumpkin seeds.  You can purchase these pumpkin seeds through their website, with a 6 oz. bag costing $3.50 or find them at retailers including Wegmans.  I’ve never been a big seed eater.  However, these lightly salted pumpkin seeds were tasty.  Everyone, including the kids enjoyed eating these!

Weber's Horseradish Mustard

Weber’s Horseradish Mustard – (16 ounce jar) Weber’s has been a family owned and operated company, located in Buffalo, New York since 1922.  According to the Weber website, this horseradish mustard, whose recipe hasn’t changed since it was first created is the number one selling mustard in the Buffalo area.  I don’t eat mustard.  However, my husband and parents really like this mustard.  It has a nice kick from the horseradish but isn’t overly spicy.

Gatherer's Granola

Gatherer’s Gourmet Granola – (bag with 1/2 cup of granola)  Since 2010, Gatherer’s Granola has been making their granola in Schenectady, New York.  The granola comes in six varieties:  Chipmunk’s Choice (almonds, peanut butter, maple syrup), Squirrel Bait (pecans, maple syrup, toasted coconut), Fox’s Fancy (apple, spices, honey) Badger’s Best (coconut, dark chocolate, quinoa), Bee’s Knees (honey, pistachio, walnut) and Turtle Tracks (pecans, dark chocolate, cranberry).  The box contained a sample of Chipmunk’s Choice.  We enjoyed this granola over Greek yogurt. While it is tasty enough to eat on its own, it is very loose, which makes it difficult.  All the granola is made from locally sourced and natural ingredients.  The company offers a subscription service through their website in which you can receive four 9 ounce bags for $19.99 a month (other subscription options are also available) or single 9 ounce bags can be purchased for $5.49 each.  You can also find the granola at select stores and farms throughout the northeast United States.

Overall, my husband and I really enjoyed The Empire Crate subscription box.  We especially liked being able to try products from our home state that we might not have heard of otherwise.  Unfortunately, this box had a lot of items that I personally don’t like (mustard, coconut).  We put a subscription to this box on our Christmas wish list, but no one got it for us.  However, it’s a fun box that we will likely order in the future!

Nerd Block Jr. Girls December 2015 Unboxing

Nerd Block Jr. Girls December 2015

Our family loves subscription boxes.  At one point I was subscribed to Ipsy.  The Weekend Chef tried Birchbox Men for several months.  We then had a subscription to Universal Yums! international snack box which the whole family could enjoy together.  So, when I saw that Nerd Block was having a 50% off single boxes for December, the Weekend Chef and I thought our daughter would enjoy receiving one in the mail.  Boy were we correct!  She was super excited.  The kids’ first YouTube video was our daughter showing off her box.

In case you didn’t watch the above video, here is a look at what was in the December 2015 box (I have provided links to online retailers or Amazon so you can learn more about the products.  These are not affiliate links.):

Teddy - Mr. Bean

1.  Teddy from Mr. Bean –  So, my daughter first thought that this Teddy was a sock monkey when she opened the box.  I’m not sure why this was included in a box clearly intended for kids.  No child I know of is familiar with Mr. Bean.  This bear is made by Fiesta plush toys, but I couldn’t find this particular toy on their site.

My Magical Mermaid

2. Magical Mermaid – This is a toy in the Robo Fish Line made by Zuru.  There are three different mermaids in the line and my daughter received Shelly.  The mermaid is battery operated and swims in water.  We have seen these retail on different sites from $4.98 – $8.00.

K'NEX Angry Birds

3. K’NEX Angry Birds – We are K’NEX fans and have a couple of sets.  My son used to be OBSESSED with the Angry Birds app.  Enclosed in the box was a Season 2 blind bag.  Inside was the red angry bird with an egg.  My daughter kindly gave this to her brother, who she knew was an Angry Bird fan.  These retail for $4.99 each on the K’NEX site.

Olaf Key Ring

4. Frozen Olaf Key Ring – My daughter’s almost 10 and kind of over the whole Frozen thing.  This Olaf key ring, made by TARA Toy Corp. came with one blue marker and several gems to decorate it.  She likes art and enjoyed decorating the key chain, but once that was done, it was relegated to a drawer in her room and we haven’t seen it since.  I couldn’t find a retail price for this key ring.

Athena - Tomorrowland

5. Tomorrowland Athena figure – We ended up watching Tomorrowland without our daughter, who had lost electronics the night we watched it.  So, she was not familiar with Athena.  I’ve since put the movie on hold again from the library and she now knows who Athena is.  In the box was a poseable Athena figure, made by Funko.  We have seen this figure originally retail between $10.99 – $12.99 at most online retailers, but is currently on sale for $5 – $6.

Monster High Clickable Color Pen

6.  Monster High 6 color click pen– This was by far my daughter’s favorite item in the box.  She likes Monster High and also loves writing and drawing. I found this pen retailing for $5.70 on Amazon.

Overall, this box had a value higher than the $7 I paid for it.  I’m not sure I can say it was worth the original subscription price of $13.99.  I’m not sure this is the best subscription box for my almost ten year old daughter.  Most of the items in the box didn’t really appeal to her.  I have the January Nerd Block Jr. Boys ordered for my son for January.  After that unboxing we will see if we will continue the Nerd Block subscription.

 

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October 2015 MunchPak Review

MunchPak October 2015

Disclosure: This complimentary box was received for review purposes. All opinions are our own and no compensation was received.

MunchPak kindly sent us an October snack box to review.  We have been a subscriber to the Universal Yums! Snack box for awhile now, but recently cancelled our subscription to explore some other snack box subscriptions.  I was excited when MunchPak contacted us about reviewing a box, since this snack box has been on our list of possible subscriptions to try.  MunchPak is an international snack subscription box.  Each month they send out an assortment of snacks from around the world.  They have three different snack subscription sizes including MunchPak Mini that includes 5+ snacks ($9.95), Original MunchPak which includes 10+ snacks ($19.95)  and the FamilyPak which contains 20+ snacks ($39.95).   MunchPak offers a customization option for $1 per variable.  For example, you can opt not to have anything spicy in your snack box or prefer to have only candy in your box.  They also offer a coffee or tea drink option for an additional $5 each.  You can also decide how often you would like a box delivered, with options including every week, every two weeks or once a month.

MunchPack October 2015

MunchPak sent us the Original box to review.  This box is supposed to have at least 10 snacks in it and ours included 11 different snacks.  Unfortunately, they do not include an information card as to what snacks are included in the box and where they are from which would be useful.  However, you can go to the shop on the MunchPak site and find most of their snacks, with descriptions.  If you really enjoy a snack, you can even purchase more from the site! It appears every MunchPak contains a different assortment of snacks.  So, you may not get the same selection of snacks each month in your box as someone else who also subscribes.

Rancheritos

1.  Rancheritos (60 g bag) –  These are Mexican style corn chips with chili powder and spices.  The chip itself was not spicy and had a sour, tangy flavor.  These were okay for us, but not our favorite.

Lotte Pepero Nude

2.  Lotte Pepero Nude (1.76 oz box) – This snack is from Korea.  The box contained hollow biscuit like cookie tubes that had a chocolate filling.  These were similar to other Asian cookie sticks that we’ve had before but were good.  *On a side note, November 11, is Pepero Day in South Korea.  The holiday’s purpose, allegedly similar to our Valentine’s Day, is to exchange peperos to show affection.

7 Days Bake Rolls

3. 7 Days Bake Rolls (70 g bag) Mushrooms & Cream flavor – 7 Days in an international brand marketed in 65 countries.  I could not find a country of origin for these chips though.  These chips were a favorite of mine!  You could really taste the mushroom flavor.  These come in variety of flavors including pizza, bacon, cheese-spinach and tomato olive.  These chips are sold in the United States as 7 Days Bagel Chips and come in less interesting flavors including roasted garlic, sea salt cinnamon raisin and everything.

Corn Potage

4.  Corn Potage – This snack is from Japan and made by a company named Yaokin.  Research revealed that corn potage is a popular Japanese soup.  This was a large, hollow cheese doodle like puff that had a discernible corn flavor.  This was tasty and very different.

Crazy Extra Candy Bar

5. Solen Crazy Extra (1.06 oz bar) – I believe that this candy bar is made in Turkey.  It’s a chocolate bar with crisp rice layers.  This was really tasty and one of the family favorites.

Lotte

6.  Lotte Green Tea (1.90 oz) Chewy Candy – The Lotte company was founded in Japan but has headquarters in both Japan and South Korea.  The package contains 10 pieces of green tea candy that are each individually wrapped.  At first the candy is hard but softens quickly and has the consistency similar to a Starburst.  The green tea flavor is very evident, so you must like green tea to enjoy this candy!

Chiki Snack Balls

7. Chiki Snack Balls – This snack is from Indonesia.  These had a similar consistency to Cheez Doodles cheese balls.  However, even trying them after just opening the bag they had a slightly stale taste to them.  They were cheese flavor but it was very faint.  This was not one of our favorite snacks.

Dream Animals

8. Ginbis Dream Animals (1.76 oz box) – This snack is from Japan.  These were butter flavored biscuits in the shapes of animals.  As seen from the photo above, each animal has it’s name printed on the biscuit.  These tasted like butter flavored crackers with a hint of sweet.  The kids really enjoyed these.

Haribo Gummy Teeth

9. Haribo Gummy Teeth (bag with approximately 34 pieces) – Haribo is a German candy company, famous for their gummy candies.  My son was especially excited to see these gummy teeth.  These had a possibly strawberry gummy flavor.  If you are a gummy candy fan like we are, you’ll like these!

October MunchPak

10. Rama – Unfortunately, I did not take an individual photo of the rama snack, which is in the center of the picture above.  I could not find much information about this snack, but believe it is from Bulgaria.  This is a bar made of a variety of nuts stuck together with a sticky coating.  It’s not hard and crunchy like brittle and is not very sweet.  The nut flavor is overpowering and even tasted a bit burnt.  This was also not one of our favorite snacks.

Ozmo Cornet

11. Ozmo Cornet Chocolate Cone – This snack is from Turkey.  This is a chocolate filled cone with tiny candy-coated chocolate pieces.  The cone is filled with chocolate but the candy pieces are just on the top.  The chocolate is not the highest quality.  However, this was a fun treat that the kids shared and enjoyed.

Overall, we were very happy with our MunchPak box.  There’s a great variety of snacks including salty, sweet, chips and candy.  If you are interested in trying MunchPak you can use this link to sign up.  Use promo code “NYFOODIEFAMILY” to save $3 off your first MunchPak! Please note that this is an affiliate link. 

 

Universal Yums! August 2015

Universal Yums! August 2015

We have been subscribing to the Universal Yums! snack box for several months now.  We are still a little behind in our reviews of our boxes but have finally gotten the August review post published!  The August box featured snacks from India.  Based on last month’s clues, we had figured this out prior to the box arriving.  We were excited to try snacks from India, since we had never had any before.  The box ships mid-month and usually arrives a couple of days after being shipped.  This month’s box included a new feature, a playlist of songs from the country that you can listen to while enjoying the snacks.

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This box included the usual variety of sweet and salty snacks.  There were two varieties of Kurkure snacks.  The Chili Chatka Kurkures were spicy, as the name and chili pepper pictured on the front of the bag suggest.  The Naughty Tomato flavor Kurkure is described on the information card as “a snack that tastes like tomatoes, but these have a hint of spice with a sweeter, almost cinnamon aftertaste.”  I found these to be spicy as well and didn’t enjoy this variety either.  The Weekend Chef enjoyed them both so they got eaten.  The kids didn’t bother trying either when they heard they were on the spicy side.

Kurkure

Also included were Parle Kreams Bourbon (2.65 oz).  There were eight cookies in the package.  These were chocolate sandwich cookies with tiny sugar crystals on top of the cookies.  There was nothing extraordinary about these cookies and they tasted like cookies that we could get locally in the supermarket.  However, we all enjoyed them.  The Weekend Chef gets annoyed that the wrapper notes that there is one serving per container, with a serving size being 6 pieces.  However, there are eight cookies in the package.

The Brittannia Treat Mango Cremes (1.3 oz) were a sugar cookie filled with a mango crème filling.  There were four cookies in the package.  This was another snack that we all enjoyed.  The information card noted that In 2013 the Girl Scouts sold Mango Cream cookies which tasted very similar to these cookies.  Unfortunately, our Girl Scouts did not sell these, so we missed out!

The Nestle Smarties are like large M&Ms.  Although the chocolate discs had different colored candy coatings, they all tasted the same…..except for the orange colored coated candy that tasted like oranges.  This was another winner.

Universal Yums! India

The picture below shows Britannia Date Rolls.  This 3.17 oz. package included eight cookies.  The cookies were similar to a fig newton but had a harder, crumblier cookie.  The filling was only a very thin layer that was not too sweet.  The Weekend Chef called these the “not fig newtons.”  He normally doesn’t like dates but enjoyed these cookies.  Everyone but our daughter liked these cookies.

In the green bag were Candyland Jelly Amrood.  There were about ten pieces of pear and/or guava shaped gummy candies in the bag.  The gummies had little flecks of pepper and had a “sour, sweet, and pepper” flavor.  Our son ended up eating most of these.

One of my favorite snacks in the box was the Best Value Bansi Peanut Chikki (3.5 oz).  This was peanut brittle. Good peanut brittle!  Nothing stood out to us that made it an “Indian” snack.  However, the card noted that this brittle is made with jaggery, a non-centrifugal cane sugar that is eaten in Asia and Africa.

Universal Yums India

 

The box also had a 0.88 oz. bag of  Snack City Chillz Spicy Potato Sticks.  These were spicy as well and only the Weekend Chef at them.

There were four pieces of Mango Moody Candy.  These hard candies are made from mango pulp.  These weren’t my fave, but the kids liked these.

IMG_2204

 

Finally, there was a bag of Lay’s Masala Magic flavored potato chips.   These were ruffled potato chips with a spicy seasoning blend.  They were a little spicy for me and the kids, but again, good thing the Weekend Chef likes spicy snacks!

Lays Masala Magic

Overall, we were happy with the variety of snacks in the India box.  There were several snacks that the family couldn’t enjoy because they were too spicy.   However, it’s always fun to try snacks from a different country!

 

 

 

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Universal Yums! July 2015

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So we are way behind on our Universal Yums! subscription box reviews.  The August box arrived while we were in Disney and we haven’t even opened it yet!  But here is a review of July’s box.  The country for July was Japan.  We still love how the featured country’s flag is represented by the tissue paper that the snacks are wrapped in.

Universal Yums! July 2015 box

This box included a variety of snacks including candy and salty/crunchy type snacks.

IMG_1346

Karl Cheese Flavor Ji-Il (2.53 oz)  – This was a decent size bag, large enough to share amongst the four of us.  These were comparable to our cheese doodles in the United States, but with a milder cheese flavor that had a slight hint of sweet.  We all liked these.

IMG_1362

Calbee Saya Snow Pea Crisps (2.47 oz) – This was also a fairly large size bag of snacks.  They have the look of a green cheese doodle.  We found it interesting that the list of ingredients included tuna extract and natural flavors including rendered beef fat.  We thought that these were just okay.

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Nestle Japan Aero Matcha Green Tea Milk Chocolate (2 pieces) – To be fair, we kind of forgot about this candy until recently and didn’t realize it was chocolate.  So, a month or so later and it was squished and not in the best condition when we tried it.  While Nestle makes this chocolate in a bunch of different flavors, we received the green tea variety. (I normally love the flavor of green tea and the Haagen-Dazs ice cream green tea is one of my favorite ice creams!)  The Aero chocolate bar is supposed to have a “bubbly texture” that according to the Nestle website, “the bubbles collapse and then melt on your tongue to create a deliciously smooth chocolate sensation.”  We did not experience this “chocolate sensation” possibly due to the dry, crumbled chocolate we had.  This was just okay for us.

Botan Rice Candy (3/4 oz) – This box had six pieces of rice candy inside, as well as a sticker.  I didn’t realize until I couldn’t get the second wrapper off the candy that it was edible.  It was weird since it was plastic-like but when you put it in your mouth, it melted.  The wrapper encased a lemon-orange gummy candy.  These were definitely different.

Morinaga Hi-Chew Mango Fruit Chews (1.76 oz) – There were 10 pieces of candy in this package.  While the package and squares of candy looked like a Starburst candy, they were much chewier.

Kasugai Gummies (4 pieces) – The box had four pieces of this candy including melon, lychee, ramune and kiwi fruit flavored.  I tried the ramune flavor, which was supposed to be similar to a lemonade flavor.  My daughter noted that it smelled like lemon cleaner, and she was in fact not wrong!  I did not like or finish eating this candy.

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Glico Pocky in Cookies & Cream (2.47 oz) – This box of cookie sticks covered in a white chocolate and cookie coating is actually a product of Thailand, according to the package.  We’ve had Pocky before and like it.  I wasn’t a big fan of the cookies and cream flavor but the kids loved it.

Kasugai Kuro Ame Brown Sugar Candy (4 pieces) – These black wrapped candies were one of my favorites in the box.  The brown sugar candy was a piece of hard candy with a molasses flavor that reminded me of the classic yellow-wrapped Mary Janes.

Kasugai Flower Kiss Candy (4 pieces) – These were hard, sweet pieces of candy.  Although the candies had different flower wrappers, according to the information card, they allegedly all tasted the same.  There wasn’t anything too special or different about these candies.

Bourbon BaumRoll (4 pieces) – The box had 4 of these BaumRolls. They were a lemon-flavored cake covered in a light layer of icing.  The cake was a bit dry and sweet, but overall not bad.

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Meiji Hello Panda (2.0 0z) – These biscuits with choco cream are actually products of Singapore, according to the package.  Each of these cookies, shaped in circles or panda heads, has a picture of a panda engaged in various sports including soccer, kayaking, skateboarding and more.  The cookie reminded me of a Nilla wafer with a chocolate filling.  We all enjoyed these.

Overall, this box was a win.  This box had a variety of treats that we could all eat and enjoy.  Nothing was too spicy or “out there.”  We can even probably stock up on many of these treats if at our local Asian grocery store.  Look for August’s Universal Yums! box review coming soon!  We are still finishing up the treats in the box and our September box just arrived!

Universal Yums! June 2015 Snack Box Review

 

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This is a VERY late review on our June 2015 Universal Yums! snack box review.  This month’s snack box was from Mexico and featured a variety of snacks and candy.  I love that the flag of each month’s featured country is represented by colored tissue paper when you open the box.  However, although this was only our second Universal Yums! snack box, we were a bit disappointed this month.  Let’s review what was in this month’s box:

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Barcel Chili Pepper & Lime Peanuts  (3.2 0z) – This was a snack that the Weekend Chef got to take to work with him.  “Hot” is right on the package and look at all that chili powder on those peanuts.  Yes, these were indeed hot and not liked by the rest of us.

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Takis Fuego (4 oz) Hot Chili Pepper & Lime flavor – this snack reminded of us rolled corn chips.  They had a bitter and spicy flavor.  The Weekend Chef was the only one who liked these and he got to take these to work as well.

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Sabritas (Adobadas flavor) (1.59 oz) – These were “marinated flavor potato chips.”  Sabritas is the brand that PepsiCo sells its Frito-Lay products in Mexico, thus the similar looking logo.  These chips weren’t bad.  They were a bit salty but not spicy, despite that red chili pepper on the front of the bag.

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Pulparindo (0.49 oz) – We received two of these in the box.  These are “hot and salted tamarind pulp candy.”  Sounds real appetizing, right?!   These were bitter with a lingering spicy heat.  Needless to say, we were not fans.

Glorias Dulce de leche – We received two of these red wrapped candies.  They were nutty and caramel-like.  I found them to be very sweet but the kids liked them.

de la Rosa (1.0 oz) – We received two of these in the box as well.  These are peanut mazapan that were very crumbly and dry.  Our daughter liked these.

Canel’s Gum – We received four packages of this gum in different flavors including banana, apple, strawberry and “fruit” flavor.  Each package contained four pieces.  The kids ended up eating most of these.

Vero Mango (0.56 oz) – We received two of these in the box.  These are mango lollipops covered in a spicy chili powder.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get down to the mango lollipop because the chili powder was just too much for us.

 

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Paleta Payaso  (1.59 oz) – This clown wrapped candy was cute and kid-friendly.  It was a “marshmallow with chocolate flavored coating.”  Yes, not chocolate, but a chocolate flavored coating.  There were also gummy drop eyes and a mouth.  The kids enjoyed this one.

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Salsagheti (0.85 oz) – This was an interesting candy.  We received watermelon flavor but discovered it also comes in a mango flavor as well.  These are sour licorice-like strings of candy. What makes this snack unusual is that is comes with a packet of sauce that you’re supposed to pour on top of the candy.  Well, the sauce is tamarind flavor.  Not a fan!  However, by themselves, the candy strings weren’t bad.

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Ricolino Chocoretas (1.41 oz) – According to the enclosed information card, this candy is considered to be the “M&M’s of Mexico.”  These were chocolate and artificial mint flavored balls whose flavor reminded me of Andes mints.  These were another candy that the kids liked.

Ricolino Kranky (1.41 oz) – These were cornflakes coated with an artificially flavored chocolate.  I liked the crunch of this candy but found the artificial chocolate flavor off-putting.

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Bubu Lubu (1.23 oz) – This was a strawberry flavored jelly and marshmallow candy bar with a chocolate flavored coating.  I do not really like jelly candies so I was the only one who really disliked this candy.  Of course, we forgot to freeze this before eating, like the information card recommended.  However, I don’t think that would have changed my dislike for it.  Everyone else enjoyed it though.

Rockaleta (0.84 oz) – This was a bonus item that wasn’t on the information card.  It’s a lollipop with four chili layers.  I took one lick and the Weekend Chef tried to eat it but couldn’t get past the first layer.  We found it to be more bitter than spicy.  But like I mentioned, we didn’t get past layer one.

Duvalin (0.53 oz) – We received two of these hazelnut/strawberry flavored candies in the box.  I found it to be super sweet and the taste reminded me of the inside crème filling of cheap Valentine’s Day chocolates.  Not a fan!  Of course the kids liked it though.

Overall, we were a bit disappointed with the June Mexico snack box. There was a variety of snacks and candy though and I think we got a good representation of what snacks are enjoyed in the country.  We just didn’t really like most of them!  It appears that Mexico really likes hot & spicy, tamarind and artificially flavored chocolate.  This confuses the Weekend Chef since the cacao bean was taken from the Aztecs…..We had a lot of fun though trying the snacks and the kids loved to watch us and see if the Weekend Chef and I would be able to eat the hot and spicy ones (me, not so much!).

We are eating our way through the July snack box and will have a review up soon!  Check out the Universal Yums! site to get more information.

*This subscription box was purchased by NY Foodie Family. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Universal Yums! May 2015

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There’s something fun about getting a surprise package in the mail!  After waiting for months, I finally got off the wait list for ipsy and was receiving make-up bags each month.  The Weekend Chef was getting a monthly subscription to Birchbox for Men.  However, as fun as these boxes were to get every month, there’s only so many male grooming products out there that the Weekend Chef could use.  For myself, I just don’t wear make-up very often, so most of the products went unused in the cute bags I received each month.  We decided to cancel our subscriptions and find something the whole family could enjoy.

As food lovers, what a better subscription for our family to enjoy than a food-themed one?!!!  But, there are so many different ones out there to choose from.  Well, we decided to try Universal Yums!  This is an international snack subscription box that started in December of 2014.  Each month they send a selection of snacks from one particular country.  Previous countries include Scandinavia, China, Italy, Brazil and Germany.  Unfortunately, you cannot currently order a previous month’s box.  The selection includes a mix of salty, sweet, spicy and more.  You can choose between either The Yum Box (6 or more snacks in each box) for $13 or The Yum Yum Box (13+ snacks each month) for $25.  Of course we decided to opt for the larger, Yum Yum Box.

I received an e-mail on a Wednesday that my May box had shipped and the box arrived on Friday, shipped 2-day priority mail.  May’s snack box theme was Israel.

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When you first open the box, the snacks are wrapped in tissue paper that looks like the flag of the country.  an information card is enclosed that provides facts about the featured country as well as a run-down of the products included in the box.

So what was included in the box?

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1.  Original Bamba – This was a 1 ounce bag of Bamba peanut snacks.  These have the appearance of a puffed cheese doodle with a peanut butter flavor.  They only have four ingredients, peanuts, corn, palm oil and salt.  The adults thought these were okay, the kids liked them a lot.

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2.  Bamba with Hazelnut Crème Filling – This was a 2.1 ounce bag of Bamba snacks that are similar to the original, but include a hazelnut filling.  The flavor reminded the Weekend Chef of Reese’s Puffs cereal, with a hint of chocolate and the shape reminded him of Combos.  We all enjoyed these and this was my daughter’s favorite snack in the box!

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3.  Elite Popping Milk Chocolate – This was a 3 ounce chocolate bar and definitely won has most fun item in the box.  This is a chocolate bar that contains Pop Rocks so with every sweet bite you get a popping party in your mouth!  This was the Weekend Chef’s favorite snack in the box!

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4. – 7.  Toffee Fruit Chews  – The box contained four of these fruit chews – 2 strawberry, one peach and one green apple.  We all got to have one.  The kids liked these, the Weekend Chef and I thought they were okay.  They tasted like fruit toffee and were okay.  This was my son’s favorite snack in the box!

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8. Falafel Bissli – This was a 2.5 ounce bag of super crunchy little falafel-flavored sticks.  Prior to eating these, I made falafel so the kids would be familiar with the flavor.  Although they weren’t the biggest fans of these, these were my favorite snack from the box.  I love falafel and thought these snacks were flavorful.

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9. Pinuki Cola Dragees – This roll included 12 pieces of cola-flavored candy.  Our son really liked these, but no one else did.  I’m a big soda fan and to me, these had an “off” type flavor that didn’t remind me of the alleged cola flavor.

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10. Achva Marble Sesame Halva Bar – This 2.45 ounce bar was the family’s least favorite snack in the box.  From the wrapper, our daughter thought it would have a chocolatey-flavor.  Boy was she disappointed!  This bar was chalky and dry with a sweet flavor that none of us liked.

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11. Pesekzman Elite Classic Chocolate Bar – This 1.59 ounce milk chocolate bar consisted of five squares that had a wafer-like hazelnut filling.  This was one of my favorite candy’s in the box  The wafer filling reminded me of the inside of a Ferrero Rocher chocolate.  The Weekend Chef wasn’t a big fan of this one, but that meant one square for everyone else and two squares for me!

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12.  B&B Pretzels Mega Sesame Sticks – This was a 5.3 ounce bag of pretzel sticks.  These sticks are baked, not fried and are covered in sesame seeds.  They are pretzels…….nothing special, but a decent size portion of the snack.

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13. Kif Kef Chocolate Bar – This 0.65 ounce candy bar was about the size of a snack size Kit Kat bar.  Even the name Kif Kef sounds like Kit Kat.  It tasted like a Kit Kat bar to us.  This was a “snack size” serving so we each only got a bite.

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14.  Mini Elite Hazelnut Chocolate Bar – This 0.63 ounce chocolate bar was the size of a Snicker’s snack size candy bar.  Again, we each only got  a small taste of this candy bar.  This had a nougat-like filling with hazelnuts.  The Weekend Chef thought this was similar to a Snickers bar, which the info card compared it to (and he didn’t look at the card!).  I didn’t think it tasted like a Snickers and it wasn’t my favorite.

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15.  Bissli Smokey snacks – This 2.5 ounce bag of crunchy wheat snacks had a smoky flavor to them.  My son thought they had a “bacon-y” flavor and liked them, where my daughter thought they were just okay.  I love salty, crunchy snacks, so I enjoyed these a lot.  While the bag notes that it’s 2 1/2 servings, if I was eating these out of the bag, I’d eat the whole thing in a sitting!

This was a fun box of snacks!  Although we didn’t love everything, it was a great experience getting to try new snacks from another country.  There was a great mix of sweet and savory.  Size-wise, the majority of the snacks were shareable for our family of four where we each got a decent taste of each snack.  Although, we literally each only got a bite of the couple of snack-size chocolate candy bars.   We paced ourselves to try about one snack a day, so the fun of our box lasted for quite a bit of time.   Although now I can’t find it, I thought that I had read somewhere that Universal Yums! was not going to be sending chocolate items during the summer months (probably so you don’t have a melty chocolate mess!).

While this box is fun and tasty, as a former teacher, I feel like this box is a great teaching tool as well.    Although this was only our first box, we enjoyed it a lot and the Weekend Chef and I think it’s a fun way for the family to experience a new culture together!  Be sure to check out tomorrow’s Armchair Travel:  Israel post on how we extended our learning about Israel after receiving our snack box!

*We purchased this box.