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Guest Post: Julie on Healthy Snacks

September 12, 2019

Moving can be complicated.

For those who were following the journey, we had a tree fall on our house and smash the windshield of our car. That involved filing an insurance claim, removing the tree, hiring roofers, and replacing the damaged garage door. Then there was a car accident that required the front end of the same car to be rebuilt. Oh yeah, and then the day before we moved, the car also required an unexpected brake job.

Fortunately, things went more smoothly from that point out. Our first day on the road ended in Buffalo, where I got to enjoy two dinners in one night. There was beef on weck from Schwabl’s and then wings at Bar Bill.

After the move is when I realized that there were some things that fell through the cracks.

One of those things was the package I was supposed to receive in July from ShopRite. They contacted me back in July about sampling some of the products from the Wholesome Pantry Organic line. I was told the products are comprised of USDA Organic Certified items, and that they are made with simple ingredients.

I was also told the package would arrive before my departure to Michigan.

When the box never showed up, I simply assumed the store thought better of sending samples for my review. Or maybe they weren’t able to get them out before my move date. But to my surprise, they showed up at my door long after our departure.

Below is the list of items I was supposed to receive:

Wholesome Pantry Organic Granola Squares Maple Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt
Wholesome Pantry Organic Granola Squares Oats and Honey
Wholesome Pantry Organic Fruit and Nut Bar Cranberry Almond
Wholesome Pantry Organic Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips
Wholesome Pantry Organic Mango Slices
Wholesome Pantry Organic Raw Cashews

The funny thing is that one of the wholesome, healthful snacks I enjoy on the regular is dried mango slices chased with raw cashews. Except I’ve been buying them for Trader Joe’s for years. I love how the creaminess of the nuts compliments and subdues the lingering sweetness of the mango. The nuts are also good for helping to get bits of sticky mango out from my teeth.

My kids eat granola bars regularly, but we haven’t found an organic bar that meets our family’s standards. Plus, Mrs. Fussy is always on the lookout for healthier tortilla chips. The ones with flax seeds at Trader Joe’s are currently at the top of her list, because of their fiber load.

Anyhow, the box never made it into my hands. My friend Julie found it on our doorstep in August long after we left the region. So I asked her to eat it for me with her family and file a report. Which she did. Weeks ago. Today, I’m finally getting around to sharing what she had to say.

Taste Testing
by Julie

My daughter is leaving for college on Wednesday, so everything over the past week has taken on a special significance. Having the opportunity to taste test products as a family was too good to pass up so we made a dinner of it, which was more appealing to everyone than the leftovers we had planned.

We started with the raw cashews as we are big nut fans. While they may be good in a recipe (chicken with cashews comes to mind), eating them out of the bag was disappointing. We appreciate the idea of a lower salt, less processed nut, but these were overly chewy and as my daughter said ‘not crisp enough’. Dry roast them if you want to avoid the salt but they need something more if they are being sold as a snack.

Next came the sweet potato chips, which turned out to be by far our favorite item. They were crispy and taste like sweet potatoes, with just the right amount of saltiness. We ate a few handfuls plain and then finished off the bag with a jar of corn salsa – yum. We would buy these again.

The mango slices were unappetizing in appearance (my 15 year old son said ‘what the hell is this?’ when I opened the package). They were brownish and cut in large strips; tongue-like, according to Patrick. You have to chew quite a bit to get past the leathery texture and enjoy the flavor, which was actually pretty decent. They should be cut into smaller pieces, at the very least.

The granola squares and fruit bar were served as the fourth course. ‘Oats and Honey’ was a bit bland, simple and overly chewy and while ‘Maple Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt’ was somewhat more popular, none of us thought they were particularly interesting. I should say that we aren’t huge fans of products that are packaged as ‘good for you’ as they tend to be only nominally more healthy, but a whole lot less tasty than their alternatives. The squares and their cousin the ‘Fruit and Nut Bar: Cranberry Almond’ are foods that when you eat them, you feel unsatisfied and before you know it, you find yourself eating Nutella with a spoon to calm your sugar craving. That could be just me.

Our family taste testing was great fun and it was interesting to note that we achieved consensus on each item. Thanks for giving us the chance to be guest taste testers!

I don’t think we have a ShopRite in Ann Arbor. But I’ve been hearing good things about those sweet potato tortilla strips from Burnt My Fingers who received the package as well.

The way I’m snacking smarter these days is with a crisp apple paired with raw walnuts. I like the juxtaposition of flavors and textures. Additionally, the juicy apples make it a refreshing experience. That said, I still keep around a pouch of dried mango and raw cashews for when I want something a little bit sweeter.

Apparently I’m still getting free stuff and being asked for my thoughts, even in my new town. If you want to check out the pizza I got from the regional pizza chain, I’ve got a picture up on the Instagram. Words on Detroit style pizza will come down the road once I have a bit more experience with the form.

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