Snack Review: Graze Box

My girl Nik over on Nik Tried It reviews mail-order subscription boxes and shares her opinions with her readers. This inspired me to review my ONE, count ’em, ONE subscription box: Graze. I only signed up for Graze because a former coworker received them, and I saw her eating the delicious-looking snacks from my desk at work. Alison is young, beautiful, slim, and does yoga. She also gets all my jokes, which makes her extra awesome, since she’s 13 years my junior. An “old soul”! So I saw this girl eating these snacks and I got interested. Way interested. So I signed up to get a free box. This was July. I AM STILL GETTING MY DELICIOUS SNACKS!

This ordinary plain brown box makes me squeal with joy at its arrival.
This ordinary plain brown box makes me squeal with joy at its arrival.

For just $6 a box (including shipping) you get four snacks in individual sealed pack, plus an insert that has nutrition information. Your first box is relatively random, but they’ll ask you for your preferences when you create an account. Each time you receive a box, you can rate the snacks inside, tailoring your deliveries for the future. There have been very few snacks I’ve marked as DO NOT SEND. You can sign up for a box every week or every other week. You can pause deliveries using their vacation tool, and cancelling the service is easy: you just log into your account and click “cancel my deliveries”.

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Is it pricier than buying my own snacks? Probably, but I love the variety and pre-printed nutritional information I get. There are sweet snacks, savory snacks, low-calorie snacks and protein-packed snacks. Some of my personal favorites are “pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seed raw bars”, “punchy protein nuts” and “fruit and seed flapjack”. For serious, the flapjacks are yum. I get the box approximately every other week, with some stalls to “catch up” on eating them, and I have no plans to quit in the near future. Also, BONUS: the boxes fit through my mail slot so no one steals my tasty snacks!

Nu-nu-nu-tritionnnnn!
Nu-nu-nu-tritionnnnn!

To quote Sharon Osbourne: and that’s a YES from me!

Do you want to try Graze? If you use this link to sign up, you’ll get your 1st and 5th boxes free.

https://www.graze.com/us/p/13QVRDNHU

Thanks to reader Susan (AKA my favorite cousin) for signing up with my code when I posted it on Facebook!

My Snack Drawer

I like to follow the Boy Scout Motto: Always Be Prepared.
I like to follow the Boy Scout Motto: Always Be Prepared.

Snacks are a really important part of my day. I try to keep a large number of healthy snacks available in my desk drawer in case I get a case of the hungries. Here are a few:

  • Dark Chocolate Chips – Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet
  • Dry Roasted Almonds – Emerald 100 Calorie Pack Almonds
  • Peanuts – Cocoa, Dry-Roasted or Cocktail (NOT Honey Roasted)
  • Dried Fruit – Cherries, Craisins, Prunes, Dates, Apricots
  • Tree Nuts – Pistachios, Walnuts
  • Single Serve Tuna in Water – Starkist Reduced Sodium
  • Sunflower Seeds (shelled, dry roasted, unsalted)
  • Pumpkin Seeds (raw or dry roasted unsalted)
  • Individual cups of applesauce
  • 100 Calories Bags of Kettle Corn Popcorn
  • Individual snacks from Graze.com (use offer code
  • Korean-Style Popcorn
  • Beef Jerky
  • Diet Cocoa
  • Tea Bags

What are some of your favorite snacks to stash in case of need?

Quick & Easy: Ploughman’s Dinner

New Year's Eve Ploughman's Dinner
New Year’s Eve Ploughman’s Dinner

A Ploughman’s Lunch is, historically, a cold meal consisting of bread, cheese and pickles, with the occasional addition of ham, hard boiled egg, or pickled onions. When I want a meal that’s easy, delicious, and affordable, I throw one of these together on a wooden cutting board. The Hubs, never one to pass up a meal that includes bread and cheese, suggested the possibility of such a meal when we were discussing our New Years Eve dinner. We had stopped at our favorite high-quality butcher shop to pick up a ribeye for Christmas dinner, and we couldn’t help but grab some artisan hot Italian sausage. That sausage inspired our New Years Eve Ploughman’s Dinner, but you don’t need fancy meat for this rustic meal. Here are the basics you’ll need to enjoy your own Ploughman’s:

Bread

Papo secos loaf.
Papo secos loaf.

The Hubs made a Papo Secos loaf, the recipe for which he refuses to share. (Feel free to Google one if you wish!) Anything rustic and crusty will work great for this, or even a rich brown bread. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try this Black Bread recipe from SmittenKitchen.com. I’ve made it many times, and it’s a LOT of work, but it’s worth the trouble. And no, I don’t always make bread from scratch for this, that defeats the purpose of a quick and easy meal. If The Hubs hadn’t volunteered to make the bread, I would have picked up one of my favorite crusty Italian loaves from my local Produce Junction (a discount produce market) for $2.50. The bread doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it just has to be delicious!

Cheese

Mmmm, cheese.

Like the bread, you should choose what you like here. My only real suggestion is that it be something firm, like cheddar, as opposed to something spreadable like goat cheese or crumbly like feta. This meal is meant to be portable, so you want cheese that you can just slice up easily. We used cheap grocery store sharp cheddar. In the past I’ve used aged cheddar, smoked gouda, havarti, etc. If you like it, it’s good enough.

Meat

So many options! I baked up our artisan Italian sausage in our (*gasp*) toaster oven. You can pre-slice it, for ease, but we each sliced up our own to our liking. I’ve previously used ham, various aged charcuterie such as salami, capicola, or summer sausage, Portuguese chourico or linguica, marinated and broiled minute steaks, grilled shrimp, etc. The sky’s the limit. Heck, even pepperoni will do.

Pickles

Any kind, type, style will do! We used tiny gherkins, because it’s what we had. I also like bread and butter pickles. The Hubs prefers dills. You can use cornichons, too. In the summer I sometimes make a quick homemade refrigerator pickle. Seriously, you cannot screw this up.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickling

Additionals

I threw a few extras on the cutting board as condiments: roasted red pepper strips (I made my own by charring a red pepper right on the burner of my gas stove, but you can use your broiler if you prefer), dry-roasted almonds and dried apricots. Dried fruit of any kind goes great with a nice sharp cheese, as do salted nuts. In the summer, we often use fresh cherries or grapes or even grape tomatoes. Real butter is also a wonderful addition, particularly if your bread is homemade and still a little warm. Chutney would be amazing, as well as veggie crudite.

The lesson here is, this is a quick meal that can be thrown together in less than ten minutes. It’s usually made with stuff you have lying around the house, and can be used to feed a crowd if necessary. It’s even a great option for a last minute dinner party, just add cocktails! If you’ve made this before or plan to make it soon, drop me a note in the comments and let me know your favorite things to include in your Ploughman’s lunch. Enjoy!