KIND Almond & Coconut Fruit+Nut Bar

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

bag_clippedI’m always on the look for bars. I have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), so I need to keep something like this in my purse so that I don’t get sick if I don’t have a chance to eat or eat something balanced. Unfortunately, I have the habit of buying bars because I like the name or ingredients of them and I don’t actually look at the nutrition facts!

Ideally, I would only eat half of this for a snack, but I ate it for breakfast one day and it filled me up. Though, a bowl of cereal or some yogurt would have far less calories and fat that this. I bought several bars, so I’ll review them over the next few days/weeks.

This bar is like trail mix solidified into a bar, somehow held together loosely. It held its shape perfectly, but was a little tough to eat. I really liked the fresh tasting nuts and raw (tasting) coconut, but it tasted plain at most parts. Some bites were firm and required effort to eat, while others I took at risk of chipping a tooth.

KIND donates 5% of the profits it makes from these bars to PeaceWorks Foundations, but coming in at 190 calories and 14g fat (5 of which are saturated), this is not what I look for in an energy bar. They taste alright, but after examining the label closely, I will not repurchase any of this brand’s bars. I will gladly eat the ones I have remaining though!

Purple Potato Salad, Konnyaku no Miso ni


For this bento I have a small totoro container filled with rice, konnyaku no miso ni, and purple potato salad. The pink onigiri shaped container is home to some grapes, vanilla almond granola cluster cereal, and pretzels.  The potato salad is delightfully tasty and I rather enjoy it. I had some purple potatoes that I wanted to use up, so I just made a quick, improvised potato salad. I think this is a little more Japanese style than American.

Purple Potato Salad

  • 2 purple potatoes
  • mayonnaise
  • mustard
  • 1 carrot
  • crushed red chili peppers

Cut the potatoes into manageable chunks and boil for about 10-15 minutes until your desired consistency. Towards the end, add the peeled and sliced carrot and boil for two minutes. Take vegetables out, rinse with cold water. Add mayonnaise until vegetables are just coated. Add mustard to taste (~1 tablespoon) and crushed red pepper flakes to taste (~1 tsp). Mix all ingredients together and set in refrigerator overnight.

The fact that it’s just potato and carrot reminds me a lot of potato salads I had in Japan. The spicy peppadew mustard and red chili flakes add a nice punch of spice at the end. I was surprised that this turned out as well as it did, especially since the water I was boiling the potatoes in turned green for some reason and these potatoes were quite old and not as purple as I’d like.

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こんにゃくの味噌にお弁当 and Tea Talk

Konnyaku no Miso ni

So I tried a new recipe to use up my remaining half-block of konnyaku. I’m not sure if I like the flavor of this, but I sure do like the texture better (well, the best out of my tried recipes so far). The recipe is for konnyaku no miso ni (こんにゃくの味噌に) and I adapted it from Obachan’s post. For some reason, her konnyaku endeed up prettier than mine, but I think thats because of the miso we used. Speaking of miso, I’m trying to get used to miso (and sesame) in large amounts. This dish had a little too much umami for me, but with rice I gradually got used to it. Even when I eat miso (soup), the miso taste isn’t as strong! Maybe I put too much in…

Bottom: Grapes, pickled jicama, konnyaku no miso ni
Top: rice, pretzels, melon mochi, coffee candy


  • 1/2 block konnyaku
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar (to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 20 mL dashi stock
  • 1/2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

Drain water off of konnyaku and blanch for about 5 minutes. Take konnyaku out, rinse with cold water. Tear konnyaku into small chunks. In a pan, add and heat the vegetable oil. Add konnyaku and fry for a few minutes. Add miso and heat until the miso is browned. Add the red wine vineger (can sub with sake), sugar, mirin, soy sauce and dashi stock (can dissolve dashi granules in water). Simmer until the liquid has thickened, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat to high and coat konnyaku with miso glaze, shaking the pan. Transfer to plate and sprinkle with roasted white sesame seeds.

Looking back on the ingredients now, I realize why the sauce was so watery! I accidentally didn’t halve some of the liquid ingredients! Don’t worry, the amounts listed above are the correct ones.

The jicama was delightfully crunchy, but too sour for my tastes. I’ll try to add some sugar in, but I’ll also try to reuse the ume-su (plum vinegar), since it was so hard to find and so expensive! Pickled carrots maybe?

Grapes were all miso-y because I underestimated the sauce on the konnyaku.

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Best Buns Bread Co.

Food Decor Service Cost
18 16 17 $5

Best Buns is the bakery that provides all of the Great American Restaurants with their delicious bread. That alone should be a reason to go here. The bakery is located next to the wonderful Carlyle restaurant in Shirlington. I always go there for a cupcake, and undoubtebly get the chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting. In the picture attached, I put a fork next to the cupcake for size reference. This thing is huge. I don’t care who you are, you’ll need to split this with someone. That, or get it to go and eat it gradually by yourself (not saying that I’ve done this myself of course…). The cake is dense, moist, and fluffy all at the same time. The icing is piled on perfectly and has a wondorous balance between the tart sourness of the cream cheese and the oodles of sugar I’m sure they put in there.

The staff is helpful and patient, quick to make recommendations, and patient when patrons can’t seem to make up their mind on what delicious baked good to order (again, not saying this has happened to me…).  Seating in here is sparse, consisting of one wall lined with a high bar and stools, so we usually get the ‘cake to go and either eat it next door at Carlyle’s bar or one of the great outdoor spots in Shirlington.

Chocolate with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Comfort Food Bento and Tea Talk

matevana roobis chai

Tea for today is a MateVana/Roobis Chai blend from Teavana. I can never get the tea to taste the same way that it does in ths store, drats! I think I need to start putting more tea in (?) I played around with the sugar amount today and it didn’t seem to make a difference, so I think I’ll try making it more concentrated. Though, this already seemed like there were too many tea leaves and not enough tea! Oh, I didn’t snap a picture pre-drinking, so this is my tumbler post-drinking. I drank two of these and I’m not really more awake (supposed to be the same amount of caffeine as coffee!)

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