Raising the Bar: A Story of Snack Love

In the beginning, there was a very VERY hungry girl…

My Favorite Snack & Protein Bars

But not anymore!

My friends can laugh and tease all they want, but no matter where I go, I will never be separated from my Triple ‘B’ (Bottomless Bag o’ Bars). Whether it’s in the car, at work, or traveling out of town, my little packaged pretties are on the ready to fend off any case of blindsighted hanger I may encounter.

Over the years, I’ve tried just about every bar out there…the good, the bad, and the DOWNRIGHT UGLY…so yes, I do consider myself a bit of an expert. In the last year, I can see that my unyielding experimentation has not been in vain. I have found the ELITE of the bar world, those that offer the best in taste and texture, that I know will satisfy my hunger, and that have me downright drooling come snack time.

So without further ado, I give you Heather’s Hanger Hunters:

Favorite Quest Bars

Quest Nutrition Protein Bars

I think it’s safe to say that after appearing in THIRTY ONE posts, Quest Bars are at the top of my list. With sixteen different flavors, it’s easy to find a favorite flavor…picking just ONE is the hard part. The cookie dough and the cookies and cream are the ones I go through the most (but then again, I am a self-proclaimed cookie monster), but I’m also growing more and more fond of the white chocolate raspberry and the double chocolate chunk, especially when broiled…crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside!

Purchased from: GNC, Publix, and online

Go to iherb.com and use coupon code QQQ940 for a discount on your first order!

Power Crunch Bars

Power Crunch Bars

I first stumbled upon these bars MANY years ago and I swear it was love at first bite. The texture is reminiscent of the Keebler sugar wafers from my childhood days…only without the sugar rush and crash! Out of all the flavors, my favorites are the cookies and creme, the chocolate mint (aka, Thin Mint) , and the chocolate peanut butter fudge (helloooooo, Reese’s!). Oh and just FYI, they’re fabulous dipped in coffee! ;)

Purchased from: Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix, and Trader Joes

NV Protein Bars

Nature Valley Protein Bars

So I know I’ve already told you guys about my love for these two, but they deserve mention again. Seriously, the strawberry Greek yogurt bar is like a crunchy PB&J that I never want to end and the coconut almond is like…well, it’s like heaven, folks. I’m sorry, there is no other explanation this coconut lover can give you.

Purchased from: Nearly ANY grocery store

Nature Valley Soft Baked Bar

Nature Valley Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares

When I want something a little lighter, I grab one of these cinnamon brown sugar squares. Out of the three flavors (other two being blueberry and peanut butter), I think these are the best with just the right amount of sweetness. And after being nuked in the microwave for a few seconds, they remind me of a fresh out of the toaster brown sugar pop-tart…or at least how I remember them in my head. We ALL know I’m never going back there!

Purchased from: Nearly ANY grocery store

Soy Joy Bar

SoyJoy Bars

Another bar that has been with me for years, yet for some reason has recently become harder to find in stores. The texture is unique in that it’s somewhere between a biscuit and biscotti, but what I really like is that it’s not a large bar (physically or calorically) so it’s perfect for me to grab pre-workout since I’m not usually one to eat before heading to the gym. Just heed my warning and steer clear of the banana butt flavor! ;)

Purchased from: Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix, and Big Lots

Kidz Zone Caramel Crunch Bar

Kidz Zone Perfect Bars

Another lighter fare fave is this bar from Zone. I know they’re marketed toward a much younger crowd, but well, we’re all kids at heart, aren’t we? And besides, this bar got THREE thumbs up from my friends at Loufest this summer for having the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Also, I’m a sucker for a bar with some chew to it!

Purchased from: Big Lots

Detour Smart Bar

Detour Smart Bars

Out of all the flavors I tried of the Detour Smart bars, this was the only flavor that I felt was spot on (honestly, the cranberry flavor goes in the UGLY category). They’re chewy and light and have a good balance of protein and fiber to keep me satisfied. Also another one that’s even better after a spin in the microwave.

Purchased from: GNC

Health Warrior Chia Bars

Health Warrior Chia Bars

I have to say out of all the bars I’ve ever tried, these little guys surprised me the most! Even though I’m not a huge fan of chia seeds (why must I still be picking them out of my teeth two hours later?!), I can’t help but love these. These flavors are amazing (haven’t tried the others) and I usually down enough water to get about 95% of the seeds washed down and the chia does wonders for its satiation power. Also another great pre-workout nibble!

Purchased from: TJ Maxx and Kroger

Hope this post helps all you Snacky Cathy’s out there. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a broiled Quest bar in the kitchen waiting to be slathered in peanut butter! ;)

Disclaimer: While some companies mentioned above have sent me product in the past, I have purchased all of the bars in this post multiple times. I was not in any way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own. I just wanted to share!

What are some of your favorite snack bars? 

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WIAW: The Stream of Consciousness Edition

Goooooooooood morning, loverlies!

So, omg, what am I doing? First I post a recipe (not to be confused with a non-recipe) after six months and now I’m actually HERE? for a What I Ate Wednesday?! Who the hell am I? I know, I know. But before you get all applaudy (that’s totally a word…because I just made it a word) on me, I have to warn you that I have some incredibly poorly-lit photos (fuck you, Daylight Savings Time) that kinda make my perfectionist eye twitch a bit, but umm, can you tell I’m kinda out of practice typing ACTUAL posts?

Yeah, let’s just do this already!

Pumpkin Coffee

I woke up Saturday “morning” (5pm for those of you who care to know my night-walking ways) and headed STRAIGHT to the coffee pot, but not because I needed it. No, after getting NINE HOURS of sleep, I was perfectly rested. But it was FINALLY the day to open my pumpkin coffee! Omg you guys, this stuff is ahhhhhhhh-mazing! Well done Target…well done indeed!

While the coffee brewed, I set to work on “breakfast”. I actually haven’t had much of an appetite when I first wake up lately nor do I really care to think until the coffee has done its job at making me suitable for speaking in public.

Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar with JIF Whips Peanut Butter

So a broiled double chocolate chunk Quest bar scha-meared with [maple and brown sugah, bitches] peanut butter it is! See? You can’t take me anywhere! 8O

Later, after being released into the wild…err, I mean at work where I uphold the utmost decency and professionalism,

Public Banana Selfie

I busted out a crazy-eyed #publicbanana selfie…which actually wasn’t public at all since I was alone in the department at the time. But you wouldn’t know that unless I told you and I just…whoops?

Chicken Nuggets, Ranch & Carrots

For dinner (lunch…whatever, who keeps up with these things?!), I kept up with my childish antics and had a finger-licking-good plate of chicken nuggets, carrots, and my favorite beverage that just happens to be sold in the salad dressing aisle.

Pumpkin Chobani

A pumpkin Chobani (mixed with pumpkin puree for added Oompah Loompahness) was my first snack of choice to get me through the wee mornin’ hours toward the end of my shift.

Apple

Along with a juicy Honeycrisp apple that I munched on while walking around the waiting room, breathing deeply and trying to inhale as much oxygen as our little collection of plants could give me to stay awake. ;)

Eggs & Toast

Once home, it was time for some REAL FOOD! And omg, FINALLY some decent light to take a freakin’ picture! Behold, we have two farmer’s market eggs here, scrambled and sprinkled with black pepper with a side of toast topped with butter and a good slathering of my favorite boozy jam!

Then, after realizing that my day was sort of lacking in the veggies department (but NOT the water department…FOUR LITERS for the win!), I decided to wash it all down with a couple of glugs of liquid greens. But not just ANY greens…

Incredible Greens

My favorite, INCREDIBLE Greens!

I then took my Hulk-stached self to the bathroom, peed for the four hundred billionth time (TMI?), washed my teeth and brushed my face (err, I mean…you know what I mean!), took my “nightcap” from The Pink Ladies and promptly face-planted into my tempur-pedic pillow. Ok, wow, that was a lot of ‘P’s’! :lol:

WIAWbutton

Don’t forget to click on over to Peas & Crayons and give Jenn a little love for hosting the weekly blog party that never ends. I’ll “see” you guys back here on Friday for a little something I’ve been working on! :)

What’s the best thing you ate over the weekend?

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Pumpkin Pear Protein Smoothie

Sweet and spicy fall flavors combine in this ridiculously creamy pumpkin and pear smoothie. Pumped with protein, it’s perfect for a quick refuel during the busy holiday season…even if it’s just to get you back to the stores!

Pumpkin Pear Protein Smoothie - Sweet and spicy fall flavors combine in this ridiculously creamy smoothie that's perfect for refueling during the busy holiday season. Get the recipe at www.kissmybroccoliblog.com!

Omg, WHAT is this?! 

Delicious, that’s what! Hiding away in my tiiiiiiiiiiiiny little reserve of recipes created many MANY months ago…when it was no longer blog-ically acceptable to publish pumpkin recipes (*scoff*), I thought I’d save it for a rainy day, but look at that, it’s raining (AND snowing) today, so I guess it’s about time to get our smoothie on!

We’ll just pretend that it’s not literally FREEZING outside! 8O

Pumpkin Pear Protein Smoothie

By: Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: N/A

Keywords: blender beverage high protein vegetarian fall winter

Ingredients (1 serving)

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1 medium-sized pear halved and cored
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water or milk (depending on desired consistency)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3-4 ice cubes (or dice your pear and FREEZE them ahead of time!)
  • Sprinkle of cacao nibs for garnish

Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Garnish with cacao nibs.

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Pumpkin Pear Protein Smoothie - This sweet and spicy treat comes together in minutes and is perfect for refueling during the hustle and bustle of the holidays! Get the recipe at www.kissmybroccoliblog.com!

So? Whatcha think? Care to wrap up in three pairs of pants, five sweatshirts, some wool socks, and a stocking cap and join me in raising a glass of pumpkin pear deliciousness? Because with the traffic that I saw out there last night, I KNOW I’m gonna need something to keep me from punching a granny in the face refueled this holiday season!

Pumpkin Pear Protein Smoothie - Pumped with protein, this sweet and spicy treat is for refueling during the busy holidays! Get the recipe at www.kissmybroccoliblog.com!

Just close your eyes and let the warm spicy flavors of cinnamon and ginger fool you into thinking that it’s cold as hell outside…and we’ve still got THIRTY-EIGHT more days until winter begins! 8O Yay?

Do you like to eat/drink cold foods when it’s cold outside…
or am I the only weird one?

Has it snowed yet where you live?

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