Friday Fixins: Subscription Box Review – Love With Food, June 2013

I got both the LWF box and the Goodies Co. box for May; neither was killer, but there was enough in the LWF box that I loved (namely these three) that it survived the competition.  Goodies Co. has since been canned.

Nothing to do with the fact that one of their items last month was the hugest bottle of coconut water in the universe.  And that it tasted like feet, because that is what coconut water tastes like.

lwf 6/13

Anyway, here we are with another month and another box on my front step!  Super exciting.  June is the Summer Beach Bash box and tastes appropriately tropical (read: if you don’t like pineapple, get the hell out of this box).  According to the insert, each of the June boxes helped to donate not one, but TWO meals to Oklahoma food banks– just go on ahead and hit me with the feelgoods, LWF.

Roasted Seaweed from Seaweed Love
lwf 6/13 seaweed
This stuff had the approximate texture of a Listerine strip.  I’m not huge on seaweed as a food product in general, so that might’ve tipped the scales for me here, but I wasn’t too in-love.  They smell a lot stronger than they taste, true, but the only flavor I was actually getting hit with was a (very) light saltiness.  Eh.

Coconut and Mango Fruit Ice from Smooze
lwf 6/13 smooze
I liked this better than I thought, considering I’m not huge on mango and that that’s the flavor that comes across as dominant.  It’s a reeeally smooth fruit popsicle (I’m guessing that has something to do with the coconut milk) with a punchy flavor; I can imagine loving this if it was sitting in my freezer in something other than mango.  The problem is that I can’t figure which; the Smooze website lists mango, pineapple, and pink guava, all of which are a little off my flavor dreamland.

(P.S.: tropical and I are not close.)

Gluten-Free Pineapple Coconut Cereal Bar from Do More Bars
lwf 6/13 Do More
The packaging advertised this as “tasting like a Rice Krispie treat with the bonus of brown rice” and that, my friends, is a very apt description of what this is.  Like crunchy brown rice cooked with brown sugar and a little pineapple juice.  Can’t see myself making these a regular part of my snack routine, but I enjoyed my sample.

Organic Fruity Bears from Surf Sweets
lwf 6/13 Surfsweets
Tropical gummy bears?  I’ll bite.  (Hilarious, right?)  These are like no gummy bears you have ever found in the store.  My tester was grapefruit.  When have you ever had a grapefruit gummy bear?  Never, that’s when.  And you can definitely taste the fruit; if it weren’t for the fact that you were chewing, these little guys taste almost juicy.

Sweet Plantain Chips from Turbana
lwf 6/13 Turbana
These little guys have a nice subtle honey flavor and the texture of a thick-cut baked potato chip.  I could imagine munching them with like a strawberry-and-mozzarella grilled cheese sandwich, because who doesn’t like having an all-sweet lunch?  They have a slightly bitter aftertaste, though, which I’m attributing to the fact that plantains roll like that.

All-Natural Fruit and Soy Bar from SoyJoy
lwf 6/13 SoyJoy
I LOVED this thing.  It’s like a cookie had a baby with fruitcake and soy.  I know that sounds really weird, but it was super awesome.  The bar is thick and chewy and the little bits of fruit inside are a nice textural surprise.  The sweetness was subtle and the pineapple was subdued and in general I was a happy camper while I was munching it.

Plus, protein.  I am a fan of protein.  Protein makes me perky in the morning.

Pomegranate Mint Chewing Gum from PUR Gum
lwf 6/13 PUR
I was super excited at the idea of this stuff, and I was ready for love at first chew.  The first few bites definitely do pack a nice pomegranate flavor, after about the fourth you’re left with a weak pre-chewed mint taste in your mouth.  So much promise, but execution just needs a little oomf.

Organic Hard Candy from GoOrganic
lwf 6/13 Go Organic
Another product that seems standard (hard candy!) but comes with unique flavor (blood orange!).  They were a little sweet for me, but that’s just hard candy’s deal.

Organic Drink Mix from Flavrz
lwf 6/13 Flavrz
So when I tried this stuff in a super-concentrated capacity (aka with about a shot of water) it was like drinking pomegrante juice, but when I tried it at full dilution (aka into a bottle of water) I could barely taste anything.

Overall: again, I wasn’t overwhelmingly gaga over the things in this box, and this time around I’m not sure there’s anything I would go out of my way to buy again (those SoyJoy bars, maybe, if I found them in a store I actually go to) but it was still nice to kick a little variety into my routine– which is why I do this, anyway.  Hopefully next month’s box will be a little less tropical (hint, hint, LWF).

Also, again with the Naked Wines gift cards?  I do not drink nearly enough wine for these to be helpful.  And when I do it’s bottom of the bottom shelf wine.  Talk to me about beer gift cards, LWF!  Please.

Please.

Please.

(For those of you with eagle-eyes, or for anyone who just acutely watches my blog like it’s some kind of high-drama series about people with interesting lives: a, what is going on in your life that that’s your top priority and b, you might’ve noticed that the Friday Five has been replaced with the Friday Fixins.  Why?  Because I’m in the slow process of tweaking a lot of things around here, that’s why.  And so that my Friday post can be more of an “anything goes” kind of situation– if I have five things I dig that week, that’s dandy, but now I can fall back on things like subscription reviews and CRACK or whatever it is strikes my fancy when I’m drafting the post.

And that has been my Blog Insight for the day.  Certainly giving y’all a lot of that lately, aren’t I?)

Subscription Boxes: Food Edition

I’m replacing Friday Five this week with Friday ALL OF THE THINGS!  I should probably pick a day to do this in the future, but whatever.  That’s tomorrow’s problem.

A few months back I discovered the magic that is subscription boxes: monthly packages of goodness and fun delivered right do your door.  They’re great because of two key reasons:

1. Mail. I have never met someone that could say honestly “man, I hate getting things in the mail”, bills excluded.
2. Surprises.  Because it’s one thing to get something in the mail that you specifically ordered and knew exactly what it was– it might be exciting, but it’s not as exciting as a box of SURPRISE.

Okay so having established that subscription boxes are great.  Moving on.  I started out with beauty subscriptions, thinking (oh so stupidly) that they were the only kind; I was an Ipsy subscriber and an occasional Cravebox-getter (back before they changed their entire format, egads).  And they were both pretty cool.  But after a while I realized I wasn’t really using much out of the Ipsy bags on a regular basis (aside from the actual bags, which I use always because they’re such a perfect size) and the aforementioned Cravebox re-formatting happened.

So my time as a box subscriber ended– until, that is, I discovered something great last month.

Apparently, subscription boxes aren’t just for things that make you pretty anymore.

April marks my first trial month with two food subscription boxes: Goodies Co. and Love With Food, which gives you stomach-food and heart-food all in one by donating a meal to a hungry kiddo for every box purchased.  (I know, right?)

Anyway.  Now that I actually have both boxes in hand, I thought I’d post my thoughts on both.

(Don’t mind the photos of open packages.  I was hungry.)

Love With Food

LWF 4/13

Got this one first, on the 17th.  Paid the monthly price of $12 ($10 for the box plus $2 for shipping) and by “paid” I mean “used a coupon code to get the first box free”.

So, yeah, I didn’t actually do that “helping the hungry” thing, but I’m still subscribed for next month.  I am helping!  Just not yet.  The contents fall into the “good” category– things that are all-natural, vegan, gluten-free, GMO-free, blah de blah.  (Generally, shit I do not otherwise give a single fuck about.)  But I’m not holding that against LWF; as I’ve said before, I don’t have so much a beef with things being gluten free/vegan/whatever, it’s really just when they try to make me feel bad about not eating solely gluten free/vegan/whatever food.

I like meat, hi.  And that’s okay.

Mini-rant over; on to the box!

Cocomels Coconut Milk Caramels by JJ’s Sweets

LWF 4/13: Cocomels

I’m not a huge caramel fan so this was kind of an ‘ehhh’ for me.  But that’s because I’m not huge into caramel more than it’s because they weren’t any good. They were good, as far as soft candies that aren’t a flavor I like are concerned.  Nice and chewy, very smooth; good amount of wrapper-cling, which is always a good sign when you’re eating something you want to get caught in every single one of your teeth.

Lemony Lover Olives by Oloves

LWF 4/13: Oloves

I like olives!  I also like lemons.  I haven’t had a chance to bust these bad boys open yet (I’m waiting for a salad, I think) but if you do that math, you can guess that these will be pretty well-received.

Salty Pepper Sunflower Seed Snacks by Somersault Snacks

LWF 4/13: Somersaults

I. AM. IN. LOVE. Um, I kind of want to eat these forever.  And when I went to look at their website and found you can get a snack pack of 2 oz. bags of all the flavors, delivered monthly– clever move, boys.  They’re like a perfect texture, and they taste kind of nutty and wonderful.  They’re apparently packed with fiber and protein, which are two things I really like.  Plus they’re like the size of your thumbnail, and I am a lover of small things.  See also:

Gluten-Free Itty Bitty Butter Popped Sorghum by Mini Pops

LWF 4/13: MiniPops

Literally popcorn’s baby cousin.  The baby cousin that everyone talks about for being so great, when really they’re not much different from grown-up-popcorn.  But they’re small.  And they’re cute.  And look how precious.

That basically describes my experience with these suckers.  They’re good, though.  Maybe not mindblowing enough to make me buy them normally, but still enjoyable.

Organic Fennel Pollen by Pollen Ranch

LWF 4/13: Fennel Pollen

I don’t even know what this is and to be perfectly honest, I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.  I’m probably going to spice some pork with it and we’ll see how that goes.  Smells real good, though.

Smoky Chili & Lime Roasted Chickpea Snacks by The Good Bean

LWF 4/13: Good Bean

Hi, chickpeas, have I mentioned that you’re one of my favorites?  Because you’re one of my favorites.  When you’re dry roasted and mingling with chili powder and lime, I like you even more.

These guys were tasty, but putting them in a bag is really just a convenience thing; I’m one of those ‘I WILL MAKE EVERYTHING’ people, and the only reason I haven’t roasted my own chickpeas up until now was out of sheer laziness.  I’ll make sure we get like a trillion cans this week so I can do everything with them, just to make up for it.

Creamy Buffalo Ranch Dip by Buff Lo Dip

LWF 4/13: Buff Lo Dip

I’m planning on mixing this into my next batch of pimento cheese to see if I like it any better.  We’ll see.

It’s..creamy, slightly blue cheese flavored buffalo dip product thing.  I shrug.

Goodies Company

Can we talk about that box lining for a minute?

Can we talk about that box lining for a minute?

Came in on Wednesday, and my mom has been wondering what it is every hour since.  (Hyperbole, mama.)  Don’t even care that its run by Walmart.  I did a little bit of Googling and apparently there are some people out there saying ‘well they’re just proving Love With Food is awesome and PS, it’s awesomeer’– yes, sure, whatever.  I’m not one for internet wars.  The box is $7, and while it doesn’t seem to put on as many airs about it as Love With Food does (sorry) the products are still largely of the artisan/gluten-free/vegan/all natural variety.

Green Giant – Sweet Potato Multigrain Chips

GC 4/13: Sweet Potato

A solid chip.  More sweet potato-ey flavor than sea salt-y flavor, which I think I liked because hey, I like sweet potatoes.  Texture is halfway between a chip and a corn chip.  I’d eat them if they were in front of me, and I’d probably pick them over a normal potato chip in the store, but I’ve kind of backed off from chips lately so it’s all a little moot.

Frontier Snacks – Pecan Cherry Cinnamon Bites

GC 4/13: Frontier Snacks

My test bite was mostly a piece of pecan, which may have influenced what I thought JUST a hair.  (Because pecans, oh my god pecans.)  But they are pretty tasty.  Cherry flavor was light in the aforementioned test bite (it was a crumb, I’ll be honest; I didn’t want to eat the whole thing JUST to get the post out) and the cinnamon was a nice background compliment.

Help me, I sound like a wine taster.

Celsius – Sparkling Cola

GC 4/13: Celsius

Hadn’t tried this at press time.  Their site says it’s super great before a workout– helps you burn more calories, or something?  Whatever.  I’m trying it today before I hit the gym, largely because I think having something with substance in my stomach rather than my usual large dose of water might do me good.

True Bar – Apricot Almond Bar

GC 4/13: True Bar

The chai flavor hits you before the almond and the apricot have a chance to, and once they catch up it’s not too bad– but for those first few seconds it’s really an overpowering experience.  Good texture for a granola bar, very dried-fruit with nuts stuck in (yes, that is what I like in a granola bar these days do not judge me).

Angie’s Popcorn – Sweet & Salty Kettlecorn

GC 4/13: Angie's Kettlecorn

Kettlecorn.  -shrug-  No better or worse than any other kettlecorn in the world.  There was a piece stuck in the back of my throat for the better part of a half hour, though, which was slightly pesky.

Zone Perfect – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar

GC 4/13: Zone

Um, this tasted like a chocolate chip Pop Tart.  A chocolate chip Pop Tart with fewer calories and actual nutritional value.  That is the highest compliment someone can give anything, ever.

PLUS: Naked Wines $50 Voucher

GC 4/13: Naked Wines

YES. Hello, wine that is maybe better than the wine I buy normally.  I was less excited when I got onto the website and found out you had to buy six bottles to place an order, so we’ll see what I actually wind up with (cheapskate, party of one), but this was still pretty cool.

Also, Things I Learned: blogging while the largely-useless-kid in the office is sitting behind you staring agape out the window…really hard.

The Roundup

Would I buy some of these?  Sure.  The Somersaults and the Frontier Snacks would definitely make it into my shopping cart without too much trouble, and I’d be willing to try the True Bar in a flavor that wasn’t so..chai.  The Zone bar would make it if I were planning on not being able to eat real food for a while (how perfect would that have been when I was still in school and finals were still a thing?) and a few of the others might find themselves in my future if they were on sale, maybe.

Overwhelming success?  No.  But tasty experience?  Definitely.  I’m excited to see what next month brings, and then we’ll see where I want to go from there!

Interested in subscribing?  Let me know and I’ll get you a referral code; that way we both get points (for both services!) that can be redeemed for more goodies later.  

(Also, anyone who wants to go in on six bottles of wine…you know where to find me.)