Tag Archives: review

RX Bar Review

8 Dec

I have another great Paleo, grain free, refined sugar free snack options to share with you!

If you haven’t already heard of RxBars, you should go to their site to check them out. It is a grain free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, everything artificial- free protein/meal replacement bar.


“RxBars are handmade with a passion devoted to ensuring the highest standards of quality.  There are no misleading filler ingredients in our bars — only natural, quality ingredients that provide functional nutrition and satisfy hunger.

Each bar contains no more than 8 ingredients, all of which conform to the standards of the Paleo Diet”

They are all made of REAL, natural ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about artificial sugars and whey protein like most protein bars. Like I’ve said I used to eat protein bars, shakes and all sorts of snacks but not after I took a glance at the ingredients list. I also used to eat a lot of protein shakes with whey protein but in all reality I’d really rather just eat real food.

These bars are great when you need something whole and natural but are in a pinch, as I was when I was out shopping the other day……satisfied my hunger without a trip to the mall food court! Excellent. They taste AMAZING!! They send me four kinds: chocolate coconut, coffee cacao, apple cinnamon and blueberry. I thought I would love the coffee one, but it wasn’t my favorite. The chocolate coconut one hit it out of the park. I’m loving coconut anything lately. The apple cinnamon was a close second. I just the taste of figs, which these bars use as figs AND dates (which are in Lara bars). Not that Larabars aren’t awesome, cause they are. But the taste of figs make these bars stand out from the crowd. It was great for when I was in a pinch and needed something yummy without running to the drive through!


And that’s exactly what I would use these bars for. When I need something quality in an emergency. Unfortunately, I experienced quite a sugar crash about 30-40 minutes after eating the thing. Even though the figs and dates are natural sugars, sugar is sugar. And it affects my body negatively, as I have found out. It didn’t help that I ate the Rx Bar on THE day after my 21 Day Sugar Detox was over. So that may have had something to do with it.

All in all, I would buy these bars again because I like that they have quality ingredients, and I need things for when I’m traveling and want to stay eating clean. However, I probably wouldn’t eat them on a regular basis because of the high amount of sugar and the caloric content (about 250-300 calories per bar). They taste amazing though, I highly suggest you try them if you’re looking for a whole food option for on the go!

OH! I almost forgot- another great thing about these bars is they have this cool little re-sealable packaging! So even though they contain a lot of calories, you can eat half and put the rest back. How many times have you opened a Larabar and said “I’ll only eat half”. Yeaaaa right! These great little packages make it so easy! I actually used it the other day and ate half of one after my workout for two days in a row.

What are you favorite snacks for when you’re traveling?

Do you eat protein bars?

Review: Ellicottville Brewing Co.

26 Aug

One of the (only) cool things about the area we live are the couple of great local breweries not far from home. Not far = less than an hour. But it’s totally worth it for delicious food and beer, especially since the offerings in our town are less than stellar.

Saturday we headed out to Ellicottville, NY for a day of hiking (this was actually an excuse to go to the brewery, on my part). The hike was supposed to be quite a  climb up a mountain but we took a wrong turn and ended up going in a big circle on the side of a hill. Still fun! There were plenty of fresh berries to pick and eat on the way and some neat views too.

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After we worked up a sweat on the hike, we naturally had to shove our faces with beer and fries  refuel with protein and carbs. Ellicottville Brewing Company has always been one of our favorites, but they recently re -opened after a large remodel and addition so I thought I’d do a review.

First of all, the remodel to the place was amazing. They turned a tiny restaurant into a large facility with two added bars (one outdoor and one more indoor for a total of 3),  beer garden with outdoor seating and (I think) banquet facilities for weddings and events. It was beautiful inside and out.


new indoor seating


new bar inside (crappy pictures, I tried to look like less of a creeper taking pictures)


outdoor seating and bar

I thought it was weird when the hostess asked for my phone number, but I guess this is the system they use instead of those buzzer things. I thought it was a cool idea. You don’t have to carry around a germ-covered buzzer and keep track of it. They texted me when my table was ready and it was far below the quoted wait time. We hadn’t even ordered our drinks at the bar yet!

I went with the oatmeal stout. I don’t know what it is but ever since St. Patrick’s Day this year I have been obsessed with stouts. This one was had a rich, chocolate-ly, coffee taste without being too heavy. You’d think these types of beers would make you full but it went down (too) easily.



Austin got a hoppy type. I forgot to take a picture of it but he liked it. We ordered our favorite appetizers, loaded brewer’s fries. They come topped with pulled pork in their amazing BBQ sauce, melted cheese and scallions.


We also split a BBQ brisket sandwich. I absolutely love the BBQ sauce. The sandwich came with a side salad and pickle.


The brisket was pretty good- a little tough but the flavor was excellent. No I was not being particularly healthy on this day if you didn’t notice…..things have been a little more lax since the wedding….it feels good to relax a little! I know I’ll clean it up once work starts again.

Both dishes were around ten dollars which made for an inexpensive and tasty lunch.

I highly recommend checking out EBC if you are in the area!! Good beer and food!

What are your favorite types of beer?

Book Review: I Know This Much is True

28 Jun

Yesterday I seriously felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest after I read this book. Finally!!!!


The reason I picked up this 900 page monster was because of the author, Wally Lamb. I read two amazing books of his called She’s Come Undone and The Hour I First Believed.

She's Come Undone

The Hour I First Believed

You should read them, they’re good.

He’s an amazing author who has the ability to write so realistically it’s like you have stepped inside the narrator’s head. He also does a hefty amount of research regarding the topics in his books which results in simple, realistic details that make his books believable.

I’ll have a real problem with a book that’s not believable. It’s the main thing that makes me put a book down….like “This could never happen; this is stupid”. But this writer crafts every detail so meticulously and methodically that what results are realistic and emotional stories about individuals, and the ordinary (or extraordinary) circumstances that surround their lives.

Anyways- so I Know This Much is True……the book starts off with a startling turn of events in which the narrator and main character’s schizophrenic identical twin saws off his arm in a public library as an act of religious and political radicalism.

You’d think that was the climax, however Lamb then proceeds to take us on an emotional and personal journey with Dominick (the narrator) as he navigates the aftermath of his twin’s actions and deals with his own dramatic and problematic life.

Through flashbacks and climbing inside Dominick’s thoughts, Lamb weaves a tale of personal reflection as Dominick struggles to determine his true identity.

It really sounds like nothing special- like I said- a character going through ordinary (yet some dramatic twists and turns) life. But what makes this special, as mentioned before, is the writing. So realistic and meticulous.

That being said, it is 900 pages. So if you have a lot of time to kill and are on summer vacation like me, you should add it or another one of his books into your summer reading list. I highly suggest She’s Come Undone.

Have you ever read Wally Lamb’s books? What is your favorite? What should I read next???????

Review: Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant

4 Jun

This weekend we went out to dinner with some friends at a new chain restaurant in Syracuse at what is now the new Destiny USA mall.

Growing up this was always called Carousel Mall and had plans to be this huge attraction type mall with all sorts of bars, restaurants, recreation, etc. But it just always seemed to be something far away that was never really going to happen. Since I don’t live in Syracuse anymore I hadn’t been to Carousel since they opened it as Destiny, so we decided to grab dinner Friday night. I was impressed!


We decided to go to the new restaurant/brewery Gordon Biersch. We’ve been to the one in Buffalo before just for drinks, which I wasn’t too impressed with, but I loved the beer I got this time.


I went with the schwarzbier, which is a dark lager. It had a nice coffee finish. Coffee and beer? I’m all over that.


They had an outer deck seating area (not outside, just in the mall) as well as an inner restaurant with a huge bar.



For dinner I ordered the steak tacos with chimichurri sauce. They came wrapped in a crispy blue tortilla shell and soft taco, which made for a nice texture and crunch. Tomatoes and lettuce were also stuffed in there.



Horrible Iphone photo, I apologize. I have GOT to get a new camera for blogging.

I asked for steamed veggies instead of the beans and rice (yummy but they make my stomach hurt), and they ended up bringing both. No harm done I guess. I just ignored the beans! The tacos were fabulous.


Austin ordered a Kobe burger with sweet potato fries. One or two of the fries might have ended up in my belly. They were good. He said the burger was cooked perfectly.

After dinner, we roamed around the mall looking for an ‘ice bar’ that didn’t exist. It was actually an ice museum, that wasn’t open yet. But there was an indoor go-kart track, a ropes course, a comedy club, many fro-yo spots (I was too stuffed from dinner at this point), and other restaurants. I had no idea there was so much stuff to do here!




If you’re ever in Syracuse, I would definitely check out Destiny. Especially if you love shopping! I couldn’t resist getting a pair of shoes after dinner too……

What is your favorite type of beer?? Lately I have been a fan of darker stouts for some reason….

Nut Butter Crazy!!

13 Apr

I jumped on the nut butter band wagon after starting to read blogs about a year ago. I’m not a huge fan of the original almond butter, my favorite is probably homemade sun butter. If you haven’t tried it…you’re crazy!

Fancy nut butters also tend to be pretty pricey! That’s why I was super excited when Artisana sent me some free goodies to try! I’ve seen their stuff around the blog world but could never find it in stores so I was dying to try it.

The first one I tried was the Pecan Butter. The great thing about Artisana is everything is all natural, raw and organic. There isn’t any added sugar in the pecan nut butter and many of their other raw organic nut butters. For me this is a plus because most of the almond butter and even sun butter you see in stores even if it is organic has added “evaporated cane sugar” or some other sugar in disguise. The pecan butter was a winner! So decadent and sweet all by itself.

Photo 1

They also sent me 5 of the their new nut butter ‘super foods’. These were quite interesting. It’s basically cashew butter mixed with a little something extra in the form of nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins.

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They were cool to try but some had a weird taste- especially the blue algae and marine phytoplankton!  I could handle the goji berry and milk thistle as well as the berry antioxidant.

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I went ahead and purchased one of their products, the walnut and cashew butter. O.M.G. This is so simply deliciously good. It has a rich, walnut taste and crunchy texture. Perfect for dipping veggies or on toast in the morning. Or eaten straight out of the jar using a finger as utensil. That’s cool too.

Nut Butter

Just watch your serving sizes on this deliciousness because it has 200 cals per 2 tbsp. Similar to any nut butter. Although a tablespoon with veggies has some staying power.

Walnut Butter

Head on over to the Artisana webpage if you want to check out more of their goodies. Definitely high quality products without nasty additives!

I still want to try their coconut butter!

What nut butter products do you love?

Quest Bar Natural Protein Bar Review

25 Mar

Quest Sample Pack

This post has been a long time coming! The folks at Quest sent me the sample pack of their protein bars to review and I am just getting through that massive sampling of delicious treats!!!

I’m sure many of you have seen these floating around on blogs and I thought I’d throw in my two sense. I have eaten a lot of protein bars in my day and, while delicious, a lot of them are loaded with sugar and other nasty additives. I also felt like they kept me full after workouts. **Side note, one time I was at GNC, and I picked up a builders bar that I wanted to try. The lady said to me “Um, that doesn’t taste like a candy bar, you know.” K THX!!!

Anyways, I was pleased with the stats that the Quest bars had to offer, and after seeing them everywhere in the blogosphere, I had to get in on the action! Quest sent me two lines of the protein bars- natural and regular. The natural protein bars are sweetened with stevia, have around 160 calories and 20 g of protein. The other line, which is 99.5% natural anyway (sweetened with sucralose) has similar stats. They are also high in fiber and low carb! We all agree the stats are amazing, but what about the taste? In no particular order here are my thoughts….

 coconut cashew

First one I ate was coconut cashew. It wasn’t my favorite. The “natural” line seems to have a chalky sort of aftertaste. It also had a chewy, sort of plastic-y texture.

chocolate peanut butter

Chocolate peanut butter– this one was a winner! Don’t worry I wasn’t driving. This one had a way better texture, and the deep chocolate and peanut butter flavor masked the after taste a better.

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Lemon cream pie. This had the same plastic texture as the coconut cashew. I’m not a fan of fruity protein bars. I still have a couple of the ‘fruit’ flavors left in the box.

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This one tasted really good! I warmed it up in the microwave. It’s one of my favorite of the natural line. It nailed the banana nut muffin taste. It didn’t have that ‘artificial’  banana flavor either- it really tasted like a muffin!

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Can’t really see this one but it was peanut butter supreme. This one had chunks of peanuts and it really was one of my favorites. The texture of the peanuts really broke up that plastic feel of the other bars without chunks.

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PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY!!!! I was saving this one…finally ate it today. So worth the save. It has to be my favorite. It also had chunks of peanut butter in it with a jelly taste. Super delicious.

I still have vanilla almond crunch, cinnamon roll, strawberry cheesecake, and some mixed berry one left to eat. I also ate the new cookie dough one (not pictured). I had high hopes for that one but it wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. It also had the chalky after taste.

All in all I enjoyed the bars. Although some have an aftertaste, it is worth it for the great stats and natural ingredients. I’d rather eat this with a slight after taste than another bar loaded with sugar and junk! If I had to make my own sample pack it would include: chocolate peanut butter, peanut butter supreme, peanut butter and jelly, and banana nut muffin.

What flavors of Quest bars are your favorite?

What other protein bars are your favorite? << I usually get pure protein (has lots of sugar :/), or Good n Natural. I’ve never had Lara Bars Sad smile

Breakfast in Buffalo

23 Feb

My mind is in conflict over which topic I want to blog about first but I think I’ll start with this: a restaurant review. Austin and I were lucky enough to travel to Buffalo, NY this weekend (about an hour away) to see a legend in concert.


George Strait. We are huge country fans, and I still can’t believe we saw him in person. Martina McBride was the opener and she was also phenomenal.


Fun times! Me outside the Buffalo Sabres First Niagara Center. We are hockey fans as well!


The next morning after the concert we were looking for a diner type place to eat breakfast and decided to go to The Washington Market on Elicott St in Downtown Buffalo. I knew nothing about it- turns out it was kind of a little grocery store as well.




You can order your food up front and take a seat in the back. There was absolutely no wait, and the staff was extremely kind and accommodating regarding several, um, substitutions and alterations I made  trying my best to keep it clean.

I ordered an omelet loaded with veggies and a fruit salad on the side. It was fresh and delicious. The omelet was not soggy or oily like diner food regularly is. The fruit was literally as fresh as possible as they had just made it. Delicious.



The fiancé ordered classic home fries, eggs and toast.



I wanted to bite into that toast…but resisted!

All in all an excellent experience that I would highly recommend if you’re ever in Buffalo looking for somewhere to get a quick breakfast. We got all this and coffees for about $15 so that kept me happy as well.


After that we headed to the mall to look at tuxedo options for our wedding, but I’m saving that for another post. Just a random question I have for blogger friends: Collard Greens. Okay that’s not a question, but I tried to make them yesterday and they turned out extremely bitter. I sautéed them in bacon fat with garlic and onion and simmered them for about a half hour with some chicken broth. Ick. They had a strong bitter after taste. Everything I read online says the longer they cook the less bitter they will be. I’m not all that convinced. Anyone (especially southerners!) have a good recipe??? Thanks!


<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/42/777237/restaurant/Central/Washington-Market-Buffalo”><img alt=”Washington Market on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/777237/biglogo.gif&#8221; style=”border:none;padding:0px;width:104px;height:34px” /></a>

PB2: A Review

22 Jan

A lot of people have been asking me about PB2. And I, shocked that they haven’t heard about it, have been dispelling this information. I thought I’d give an actual formal review of the product and my experiences with it.

What is it?


PB2 is like a peanut flour. It is peanut butter in powder form with out all the added fat and oil. There is 85% less fat and calories than regular peanut butter. You can read more about it at the company, Bell Plantation’s, website. The best part about it is it’s all natural! It’s perfect if you are addicted to peanut butter taste but don’t want all the extra calories. Here’s what the stats look like:

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons

Calories: 45

Fat: 1.5 g

Sugars: 1 g

Protein: 5 g

The caloric difference is amazing! Two tablespoons of regular peanut butter is nearly 200 calories!! They even have a chocolate flavor, which I haven’t tried. I probably should.

What do you do with it?

The PB2 website has tons of recipes to try. Personally, I think it works best in smoothies.


It is also good in these coconut peanut butter pancakes.

cocnutIt also works well in oatmeal, but I have found you have to add AT LEAST two tablespoons to get a good flavor, or mix it with water first. Cookie recipes are another good way to use PB2, however, it is pricey! So I don’t usually want to part with a cup or more at a time!

I also like to mix it with a 1/2 cup of fat free cottage cheese for a late night snack!


PB2 ‘peanut butter and jelly cheesecake dessert’

The PB2 can basically be used as a substitute for peanut butter, but I will warn you it takes some getting used to when eaten on toast, bread and other traditional ‘peanut butter’ things. The taste is almost the same as real peanut butter, maybe a little sweeter. The texture is thinner and less rich. I, however, don’t mind because it saves me the calories. Some people do mind and I’ll admit there are some times when nothing but real peanut butter will do!

Where can you get it?

The Bell Plantation website is a great place to order PB2 in bulk- believe me, you’ll need it! I’ve never seen it at traditional grocery stories. I usually buy it from either the organic grocery store in my hometown, or on Vitacost.


If you use PB2 already, what are some of your favorite uses???

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