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Cool Articles 10/9-10/22

This post is going to be chock full of cool articles!

These come from some of my favorite foodie sources: Eater, BuzzFeed Food, The Daily Meal and Serious Eats.

Here are some cool articles for you to check out:

1) Inspired Desserts from the New York Wine and Food Festival Godiva Truffle Showdown, Serious EatsThere was a Godiva Truffle Showdown at this year’s New York Food & Wine Festival, and get ready to feast your eyes on a slideshow of mouth-watering, decadent chocolate treats, because you are in for one tasty ride!

2) 18 Reasons Pizza is Your Best Friend, BuzzFeed Food: This is a super fun read. Especially with the pictures. It tells the tale of why pizza is, and will always be with you for the long haul. From Lunchables, to Bagel Bites, to late night munchies. Yum.

3) 23 Most Glorious Balls of Cheese, BuzzFeed FoodWho doesn’t love cheese? And who doesn’t love a big ball of cheese? But honestly, I would not eat the one that looks like a rat (would you? Do tell below!)

4) 13 Things You Didn’t Know about Dunkin Donuts, The Daily Meal: Time to make the donuts! The Daily Meal puts out a fun list of things you (may) not have known about the coffee/donut shop. Something I didn’t know:

There are Dunkin’ Donuts coffee experts that taste an average of 200 cups of coffee a day to ensure that they’re delivering the best possible coffee to consumers.”

Did you know this? That’s so cool! Can you imagine being a coffee taster for #DD? Brilliant.

Enjoy!

SWEET TREATS: Oreo Brownies

My brother and one of my best friends are coming to town this evening via road trip. Love you both 🙂

In the past day or so, I’ve been envisioning in my head what I could bake them as a “Welcome to Ohio” surprise.

My mind immediately went to Oreo’s.

I’m very, very close with my family. I love my family very much. I love my brother very much, and one of the things we always do together when we see each other is late at night, we watch TV shows, hang out, and have cookies and milk. Usually, it’s between Oreo’s, some sort of chocolate chip cookies (be it Wegman’s brand, Pathmark brand, etc.), some sort of dessert with chocolate in it. We’ve inducted Aisha into this tradition as well. 🙂

So as I LOVE brownies, I thought, why not make some Oreo Brownies?

When I was younger, there was a boxed mix of Oreo Brownies that were probably some of the best brownies I’ve EVER had. I ALWAYS looked forward to those brownies. Soft, moist, fudgy, warm (!) chocolatey brownies, with a glaze on top. Heaven!

But ever since then, I’ve never seen that boxed mix in stores. I’ve seen pre-packaged wannabes (already baked), but nothing compares.

So tonight, I attempt to make some yummy Oreo brownies, via one of my new favorite hobbies, Pinterest. 🙂

Thank you so much, Suburban Coupon Mom, for your post, and for the inspiration!

Here is her recipe for Oreo brownies:

2 boxes of brownie mix ( I used Ghiradelli) and bought a family sized box of Oreos because they were on sale!!

1/2 Cup of Water

2/3 Veggie Oil

2 Eggs

1 sleeve of Oreos crushed

CREAM TOPPING

1/2 Stick of Butter

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

2 Tble spoons of Milk

1 to 1 1/2 cup powder sugar.. add gradually and check for consistancy

I’ve made a few modifications. Instead of using two boxes of brownie mix, I went for one. My favorite go-to brownie mix I’ve been using as my base at the store is Betty Crocker Ultimate Fudge (with Hershey‘s Fudge, yum!)

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Mix the brownie mix as per usual using the ingredients listed on the box (water, vegetable oil, egg, fudge packet, mix).

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Tonight I decided to use my brownie pan for the occasion. As it has three rows (for easier slicing), I greased the pan with butter, then put some of the mix in my pan.

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You could get creative with exactly what kind of Oreo to buy (there are so many flavors now). My brother loves Double Stuf’s, but tonight at Kroger I discovered there are Oreo’s a step up from Double Stuf, called Mega Stuf! (Can you believe it?!) 🙂

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I layered a row of Oreos into my pan and then put the remaining brownie mix on top. You’re going to have to make a judgment of how much to put in each row. This time around for me, there wasn’t enough batter left to cover the Oreo’s, but that’s okay. We’ll see how the batter forms around the cookie.

I’m also not following a specific “done” time. My first aim was at 25 minutes at 350. From then on, I kept checking with a fork into the middle (if it comes out clean, it’s done!).

As of 12:53 a.m.: 25 minutes baked at 350 degrees, stuck the fork in, came out a little covered in batter.

Put timer on for 7 more minutes.

Second check: 1:01 a.m. – still not 100 % there yet. Putting on another three minutes.

Third times the charm: 1:05 a.m. – dunzo!

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While I’m letting those cool down a bit, I’m starting up the glaze. Instead of making the glaze directly in the pan, I’m going to do another double boiler, only because I don’t want the glaze burning or sticking in a pan.

I mix all ingredients as per the recipe above and put it in the double boiler:

IMG_4048I put the half stick of butter in the bowl and melted it on close to high temperature on the stove…

IMG_4049Then I got the vanilla out. 🙂

IMG_4050As soon as the butter melts, mix the vanilla, and milk together, stirring constantly.

Then, add the confectioners sugar slowly. It’ll turn into the glaze-like consistency, like this:

IMG_4055IMG_4056I tested the glaze, it is DELICIOUS!

IMG_4057Here is the final product. I poured the glaze on the brownies and spread evenly.

Let cool, slice up and serve.

Enjoy!

 

Cool Article of the Week — 7/29 — 8/3

Chocoholics (::raises hand::) this is for you.

This cool article of the week comes from one of my new favorite food news sources : BuzzFeed Food.

I saw they had tweeted this story, and I literally said out loud to myself, “Really?!”,in a surprised, yet intrigued way.

According to a study out of Belgian university (where coincidentally, ALOT of yummy chocolate comes from, the country of Belgium, i.e. Guylian), the smell of chocolate encourages people to shop for books longer.

Seriously!

Researchers pumped the scent of chocolate into a bookstore over there for half of the day.

201 customers were analyzed.

And the result was that “customers were more than twice as likely to browse through more than one book during the chocolate hours,” according to this study.

There’s another interesting factoid in the BuzzFeed Food article, but I don’t want to give it away, I want you to check this out for yourself, and let me know what you think!

If you smell some chocolate in the bookstore, who knows, you may just walk away buying a big stack load of books!

Here’s the article, pictures and all.

Photo Credit: lemonandlyme.com

 

SWEET TREATS: Buckeye Brownies

One of the first things I heard about when I moved here to Ohio was this:

Buckeyes.

I knew of the sports team, but what I didn’t discover until I was physically here in Ohio   were the chocolatey peanut butter desserts sold here.

Here’s an instance of a Buckeye foodie discovery I had while out and about.

I go to one of the local supermarkets here (Dorothy Lane Market), and am browsing around one of the cases of desserts. I’m seeing all of these Killer Brownies it makes (that could be a whole other post by the way: these are these thick, moist brownies with gooey delicious layers in the middle), and then lo and behind I see a Buckeye.

Thinking about it now, here’s something coincidental about this.

The size of the buckeye I tried there, at least circumference wise, is the size of an O you form with your hand. O for Ohio! Eyyy! 🙂

If you haven’t tried a Buckeye before, it’s a peanut butter ball covered in chocolate just enough so the peanut butter is still sticking out.

It looks just like the nut that comes off of a Buckeye tree.

The other night I was thinking about something I could bake (and surprise!) for a dear coworker whose last day was Monday. She is moving away from Ohio, and so I went to Pinterest for some inspiration.

I love baking brownies. While browsing for brownie ideas, I by chance came across this recipe.: (thank you My Patchwork Quilt!)

Buckeye Brownies

19 1/2 oz. pkg. brownie mix
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. plus 6 T. butter, softened and divided
8 oz. jar creamy peanut butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare and bake brownie mix in greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan according to pkg. directions. Let cool.

Mix powdered sugar, 1/2 c. butter, and peanut butter in a bowl.

Mix well (I used electric mixer) and spread over cooled brownies.

Chill for 1 hour.

Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Spread over brownies.

Let cool; cut into squares.

Makes 2-3 dozen.

I modified the recipe just a tad: I used a brownie box mix that wasn’t 19 1/2 oz (honestly, I couldn’t find one that big!), so I used an 18 oz box.

Another thing I did that’s different from the recipe: the brownie box I got didn’t have the cooking time for the brownie pan that was required in the recipe (9 x 13), so I played with the timing with my trick below.

With any brownie or cake, what you want to do to tell it is done is to stick something in the middle of it (normally I’d go for toothpicks, but since I don’t have any right now, I used a fork). If it comes out clean, your baked good is done, if it comes out with dough stuck to it, you need to cook it some more. This is when you keep a close eye on the oven, these final minutes.

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Another modification I did was I added more chocolate chips instead of just 6 ounces (because I ran out when it was just 6 ounces), and added some more butter in when I added the extra chocolate.

A good trick for melting ANY chocolate (and thank you Culinary Arts class in high school for this tip), is to melt it in a double boiler (pictures above), not just in the saucepan alone. That way, there is no chance of your chocolate burning. A double boiler is when you boil a pot of water (or in this case, I put it to medium heat), and put a bowl on top with the chocolate in it, and melt it / stir it up that way.

Another thing I did was I chilled the brownies overnight in the fridge after putting the melted chocolate on top.

Pouring the melted chocolate on the brownies!
Pouring the melted chocolate on the brownies!

Now I’ll admit, it was a little hard to cut them today, but I will tell you, these brownies are SUPER delicious, chocolatey, fudgy and moist. I especially loved the chocolate with the fluffy peanut butter frosting/filling concoction in the middle. My now former coworker enjoyed them too, which I am so glad about :). I made them especially to remind her of home before she leaves for another coast :).

I officially really really really love Buckeyes :).

Enjoy!

LONG ISLAND — Chocolate Crumb Cake by Farmingdale’s Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company

Just thinking about those delicious morsels of crumbs on the following chocolate crumb cake is making my mouth water.

At the Town and Country Market in Miller Place, you can get countless items to eat or drink, including breakfast and lunch sandwiches, wraps, paninis, chicken pot pies (which will be my next post) and more.

But when I was at the market the other day, I was told by the counter person the crumb cakes by Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company, that were conveniently sitting by the register, were “ridiculously good.” Intrigued, I immediately reached for the chocolate crumb cake. There was also flavors such as original, apple and raspberry walnut, but as I have said, I am a huge chocolate fan.

The crumb cake is a local specialty: Hahn’s is located in nearby Farmingdale. According to its website, you can place online orders for its crumb cakes and pound cakes if you want to buy some yourself.

Also according to its website, all of the cakes are baked fresh daily, made with extra large handmade crumbs and cakes made from their old family recipe, has a rich, moist base with fresh, whole eggs and has a long shelf life. It also says these are kosher too!

The chocolate crumb cake was most definitely rediculously good: moist yellow pound cake with the sweet, large morsels of crumbs with a huge chocolate drizzle on top.

If you’d like to try some and you’re in the Miller Place / Port Jefferson area, you can pick up a piece at the Town and Country Market. Otherwise you can check out its website and place an order.

Town and Country Market

85 North Country Rd., Miller Place, NY 11764
Phone: (631) 403-4383

MONDAY – SATURDAY
5:00 A.M – 7:00 P.M

SUNDAY
5:00 A.M – 6:00 P.M

FREE DELIVERY SERVICE UNTIL 3PM
CURB SIDE ASSISTANCE

Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company

75 Allen Blvd. Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735
Phone: (631) 249-3456
Fax: (631) 249-3492

 

Food-cation NYC: Chelsea Market

During my trip to NYC I was given the opportunity to see neighborhoods I haven’t been to and neighborhoods that I have been to, yet haven’t taken a closer look at.

One of the days there were a few hours of free time where I decided to hop on the subway and head south to Chelsea. I’ve driven by Chelsea before, but have never taken the time to explore the neighborhood itself.

Lo and behold, I came upon Chelsea Market.

Outside Chelsea Market.

Picture this: a humongous brick building. Several floors of offices on top….the main floor filled with food. Lots of food. An article on Chelsea Market’s website calls walking through here “is to stroll through a sort of postindustrial theme park.” This is so true. This building, also according to the article, used to be the home of the National Biscuit Company Complex and “baked everything from Saltines to Oreo’s.”

Walking inside the big glass doors on one end of the building, I looked to my right and saw signs for not only Food Network, but for several other TV networks as well. But my friends, as it is a market, there were tons of food establishments to check out.

This was very much a fun trip down foodie-lane!

A beautiful waterfall inside Chelsea Market. It changes color!

I walked by several tempting food stores, including BuonItalia, an imported Italian food market, Eleni’s New York, a really cute cookie/cupcake place, Lucy’s Whey, an artisan cheese shop, a Jacques Torres chocolate stand and I even found a raw food restaurant, One Lucky Duck.

But two places in particular called my name that day: Chelsea Wine Vault and Fat Witch Bakery.

There was a sign in the window of the Chelsea Wine Vault for a free wine tasting happening right at the moment I was there. I immediately went inside the vault, which had a very homey, country feel with a wooden interior. To the right of the cashiers was a room where the wine tasting was happening.

With my wine tasting I took a “Wine Report”: the vault’s monthly newsletter. In the January 2011 edition, there was an article on “New Year’s Wine Resolutions,” highlighting new wines to try and giving the reader wine suggestions for this year (including taking wine education classes). There was also a listing of all of the vault’s upcoming classes in wine education, including a wine and cheese pairing class with Lucy’s Whey. There was even a recipe on the back of the newsletter for a Ricotta and Sausage Pasta.

But what I studied most closely was its “January top ten:” ten recommended wines on sale at the vault. Four of ten wines were offered at the tasting I went to.

After being to wine tastings throughout the past few years (including the Great NY State Fair at the wine tent with my friend and exploring the Long Island vineyards with my family) and trying several wines when out to dinner with my family, I discovered I love dry over sweet. I love a good Pink Zinfandel and a Rose, but for the most part, sweet wines have been way too sweet for my palate. What do you prefer, Syracuse?

However, if you asked me whether I like white or red more, I couldn’t answer that. There are certain reds and whites that I like more than others, that’s all I’ll say.

Back to the wine tasting: the man in charge started off with the whites. The first wine I tried was Montinore Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2009 (BIODYNAMIC) (on sale there for $12.99). The vault’s wine report says it comes from Willamette Valley, O.R., and is a Pinot Gris grape. The winemakers note in the report says: “Very aromatic with notes of fresh ripe pear, yellow apple and a pleasant floral/herbal accent. On the palate it bursts into flavors of ripe honeydew melon with hints of mango overlaying ripe apple/pear character. An almost creamy mouthfeel and long finish of crisp apple essence and distinct mineral qualities.” After swirling my small, plastic cup, I tasted a light, and sweet wine that was just okay in my book.

The second white was Hedges CMS White Columbia Valley 2008 (on sale for $10.99 there). This wine hails from Columbia Valley, W.A., and combines the grapes of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Marsasnne. This was another light wine, but more on the tart side. Definitely better than the one before. The winemakers note, according to the wine report, said it’s a “blended white with Sauvignon Blanc dominating over 75% of this wine, this was one of the original malic-acid friendly white wines released from Washington State. Beautifully structured with wonderful Sauvignon Blanc character; the mouthfeel has a delicate balance of acid angularity and defined herbal sophistication. Perfect as an apertif or as an accompaniment to a variety of seafood and shellfish.” Out of both whites, this was the winner of the white tasting.

Onto the reds. The first was Independent Producers Merlot Columbia Valley 2008 (on sale there for $9.99). Another wine coming from Columbia Valley, W.A., this merlot was most certainly a dry wine. After reading the winemakers note in the wine report, I could pick out the rich, yet tart flavors of plum, black currant and cherry: “Plum, black currant and cherry fruit make a strong showing in this well-balanced Merlot. Its producers are more focused on terroir than marketing, so this wine often flies under the radar. Let it land on your table and it will enhance any meal, from pizza to lamb chops.” This one was good, but I liked the next one better.

The overall winner of the tasting was the following: Tenute Valdifalco Loacker Brillando IGT Toscana 2008 (BIODYNAMIC) from Tuscany, Italy. It’s on sale there for $13.99. This was the most surprising of the four wines: the man pouring described it having a candy-like taste to it. It most certainly did, following with a nice oaky flavor, which I love. The grapes in this wine, according to the wine report, are 85% Sangiovese, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot : “With concentrated berry and spice aromas balanced by firm oaky tannins, this wine can either be enjoyed young or cellared for up to 10 years. Serve with game, veal, steaks and aged steaks.” I loved the different sweet, yet dry flavors I tasted in this one, and out of all four, this one I recommend trying the most if you come across it.

Fat Witch Bakery.

After my wine trip, I came across Fat Witch Bakery, which I saw one day reading a blog post on Serious Eats. I remember looking at the picture of the brownie (they’re actually called “witches” at Fat Witch), and thinking, “This looks sooooooo good.” I went inside the cozy, yet open designed white establishment, picked up an original Witch, and took it outside to try.

The original Fat Witch.

This brownie was extremely moist and fudgey the whole way through. It wasn’t cakey at all, it was very similar to eating a flourless chocolate cake in brownie form. It took me on a trip through chocolate land and back.

This bakery has been around since 1991, and its website says the philosophy behind the bakery and the witches are “No icing. No preservatives. No nonsense. Only the best, most natural ingredients. ” Fat Witch says on the website it also bakes the witches in small batches and are in “no hurry.”

If you are ever in Chelsea, please go stop at this delicious brownie kingdom, which also has several other Witches including pumpkin, java, blonde, red , snow and breakfast.

The Fat Witch unveiled. YUM.

And if you’re looking for something smaller, Fat Witch also sells Witch Babies, which I was very tempted to get: smaller, bite-sized witches.

And these were just two of the several restaurants in the market. If you get a chance to head over to Chelsea, take a stroll through the market and try a few items along the way. You will not be disappointed.

SYRACUSE — RAW FOOD at Green Planet Grocery!

When you think of “Raw Food” what is the first thing that comes to mind?

I think of raw meats, fish, vegetables and fruits.

My last post was about different “Green” food items. This post will talk about a “Green” grocery store: Green Planet Grocery. It recently opened just off of Route 5 in Fairmount, N.Y. My friend Deandra told me about the supermarket and how they have a Vegan Raw Food Cafe there as well. She was telling me the other day about their Raw Food Nachos that were AMAZING, and I was immediately very curious about this “Raw Food” and what it’s all about.

What is raw food? Here are some bullet points about it, from the website http://www.thebestofrawfood.com :

“We call food raw if it is:

  • Uncooked – never heated above 42 C/118 F degrees.

and preferably:

  • Unprocessed – as fresh (or wild) as possible
  • Organic – no irradiation, preservatives, pesticides or GMO.”

Raw food is food that is uncooked and is very fresh. And chef Mariesa Pitonzo from the Raw Food Cafe stresses that in her blog Eye of Raw, where she writes in her bio page the following about herself and her transformation to the Raw Food Diet:

“My raw transformation has completely changed my life.  With in the first three weeks of my transformation, I lost 15 lbs and gained so much energy. I did this by eating many different foods, the only difference is that they are healthier for the body and contain so many enzymes that your body wants and needs!

So why not cook your food? Cooking your food kills all the enzymes and nutrients that it has to offer. Your body needs nutrients to function properly, different nutrients and vitamins affect different organs in your body. The enzymes are whats going to help the digestion process. I highly stress buying local organic fruits and vegetables so that you can get all of what your food has to offer you. If local is not available, still buy organic. This not only produces more nutrients, it is pesticide free and better for your consumption.

The benefits of being RAW: High Energy, you will be the weight your body desires to be, (never count a calorie again!) no brain fog, you will be chemical free, the list can go on and on.” — Mariesa Pitonzo on EyeofRawFoods.com

Deandra and I hopped in the car yesterday and drove over to try some of the “Raw Food” chef Pitonzo had to offer! I was extremely excited about trying something new and completely different from the average grocery store food.

Once we walked in, we were greeted by friendly staff at the cashier counters and headed straight over to the Raw Food Cafe, which is straight ahead as you walk into the Green Planet Grocery. Chef Mariesa was cooking up a storm in the cute kitchen they had in the cafe. The whiteboard had the Raw Food menu of the day, which included the entree, an Antioxidant Salad, and the assortment of smoothies you could get.

Antioxidant Salad (half size), $5.99, Raw Food Cafe @ Green Planet Grocery

We both decided to try the Antioxidant Salad, which certain was full of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, including Asparagus, mixed greens and herbs, a raspberry and kiwi salad dressing, pomegranate seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more. The half salad that we each got was $5.99, but you could get a full sized for $8.99.
Wow!! What a salad…What I really loved about the salad were the different flavors I had in my mouth. Between the sweet, yet creamy dressing (which Mariesa said she used things such as coconut oil and EVOO in it) , the actual fruits in it, the raw veggies and different seeds on top, it certainly filled me up for the afternoon.

"Green Machine" smoothie (small): Raspberries, Blueberries, Kale and Spinach, $3.99

The smoothie very much impressed me as well. I am a HUGE fan of smoothies, especially ones with lots of yummy fruits in them. While Deandra got an AMAZING smoothie called “Chocolate Banana” that had frozen bananas, almond butter and cocoa bits in it (it was a filling, delicious dessert-type-of-drink!), I got a “Green Machine” smoothie, which was DELICIOUS as well! I have heard this name for a smoothie before, with the “Green Machine” smoothies from the “Naked” juice brand. But this smoothie I had was great: For $3.99 I got to choose two fruits and two vegetables to make my “Green Machine.” I first chose raspberries and blueberries for my fruits, because I LOVE those two fruits dearly, and I know that blueberries especially have high antioxidants. Mariesa chose Kale and Spinach for me as my two vegetables, and my smoothie turned out delicious. While Mariesa said the fruits would overpower the vegetables, they didn’t at first for me: I tasted the leaves of the kale and spinach. But later, as I took sips, I tasted the berries and enjoyed my smoothie immensely.

Walking around the store afterward with Deandra, I also found a DESSERT made by Mariesa in a refrigerated case: a vegan, raw, gluten-free and soy-free Chocolate Lavender Cheesecake. One slice is $5.99.
Chocolate and Cheesecake = LOVE!!!

But lavender? In a dessert? This was new to me. I was once again, quite curious.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Please watch my video below to find out more about the cheesecake! I’ll tell you this: it was very chocolately and decadent, yet tasted very healthy and fruity. The pomegranate seeds gave it that extra kick of deliciousness!

While I am not a vegan or vegetarian ( I love eating meat!) I really enjoyed trying all of these new ways to prepare food, and you could definitely try them out too!

Check out Mariesa’s website:  http://eyeofrawfoods.com/

And if you want to check out Green Planet Grocery, here’s their information:

3514 W Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219
Phone: (315) 488-7777

HEALTHY EATING — Silk’s Dark Chocolate PureAlmond Milk


Silk’s Dark Chocolate PureAlmond Milk

Hi everyone!
One of the things I love to do while shopping for groceries is browse the aisles and see if there are any new, interesting items out on the shelves!

Recently, in one of my trips to Wegman’s, I was browsing the aisles in the Organic section.

While in their Organic refrigerated section, I came upon some some cartons of Silk PureAlmond Dark Chocolate Milk! This intrigued me.

Why, you ask?
I have just recently started to see Almond Milk around the stores. I love almonds, and while I knew there was such things as Almond butter, the milk was new to me!

Not only was it Almond Milk, but DARK CHOCOLATE Almond Milk. I love chocolate! While I have tried Silk’s Chocolate Soymilk and loved it, I wanted to see how this new product was.

Here’s a video of me trying the Dark Chocolate Almond Milk!

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