REVIEW: Theo Bread & Chocolate

I was pysched to get this in the mail (and yes, fellow addicts, those are LLR leggings in the background; I really wanted to eat this chocolate bar and grabbed the first fun-patterned thing I could find so I could snap these pictures and get to munching). I’ve been intrigued by this particular flavour since I discovered it, because really, carbs and chocolate seem like a wonderful combination.

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Theo describes this one as “A twist on the traditional pain au chocolat. We blend buttery toasted bread crumbs into our dark chocolate with just a hint of sea salt.” Interesting, right? I’ve never had bread in a chocolate bar. I wondered if it’d be like eating croutons and chocolate at the same time. It turned out to be something kind of like that.

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First reaction — this is so weird. But tasty! But weird. What a weird combination. Who thought of this?

There’s a dark, smooth, clean taste to the chocolate that really stands out. It’s good chocolate on its own. It’s the 70% cacao base, and it’s delicious. The bread adds a definite salty taste to the bar, and a lot of crunch. It’s not a particularly sweet chocolate bar and is definitely a more sophisticated taste.

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Here you can see the bread crumbs, inside the bar. The thing that stood out to me is that the tastes really blend together seamlessly, while the texture does not. The bread crumbs stand out, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily — but to me the chocolate melted away first and left the crispy pieces of bread hanging out a bit longer.

I don’t think I’d stash this one in multiples in my chocolate cupboard, but it’s worth trying!

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Feeding Yourself Through First Trimester Aversions

I’m one of those unfortunate people who seems to get hopelessly sick during the first trimester of pregnancy. It’s a cross between a hangover and the flu, for me, plus the occasional gnawing stomach pain/insatiable hunger feeling.

While not everything works for everyone — yes I’ve tried saltines, I’ve tried ginger, so on and so forth — basically, you gotta find a way to eat. Toward the end of the first trimester I switched from oh my god food sounds like torture to something more like feed me everything NOW but here’s what helped me actually get food into my body for the first several weeks.

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Eat what you have to eat to survive. Ignore the ‘you must only eat organically grown vegetables blessed by monks’ crowd. It’s better to eat ramen than to eat nothing. Seriously. Your fetus will take what it needs from you. That’s why you look like death and can’t poop.

Get someone else to cook for you. I’m usually the dinner cook in our house — Matt had to take over for a few weeks. It was annoying for everyone because I was usually sitting there like ‘I don’t want to eat anything’ or ‘I CAN ONLY EAT A BACON CHEESEBURGER, WHICH I NEED RIGHT NOW OR ACTUALLY TEN MINUTES AGO.’ But he fed us and we all survived.

Let go of guilt. We had vegetables go bad in the fridge because I couldn’t deal with them. I tried to not worry about the cost of takeout and convenient food. Survival, people. Though you should try to get the vegetables out of the fridge before they legitimately rot, because that sucks to deal with when you’re already trying to not throw up.

If you feel decent enough to attempt cooking, try crockpot food and casseroles. I discovered this on a day I was desperately craving butternut squash risotto. I didn’t want to make Matt make food AND also demand something specific, that I wanted done in an exact way. So I decided I could do it myself. Luckily it’s a baked dish — I used frozen cubed butternut and the hardest part was dicing an onion. After that I realized that simple, baked dishes and slow cooked food was ideal. Look up one-pot meals on Pinterest.

On that note, it’s OK to use the shortcut foods you wouldn’t normally use. Pre-diced vegetables, frozen instead of fresh… make your husband chop up the ham instead of doing it yourself… if you can get a lot of the prep work out of the way, throwing it together into something baked or slow-cooked is much more manageable.

Get some snacks and carry ‘em around. Having something in your stomach can stave off the nausea and make the thought of eating a real meal less horrifying. Simple stuff like Goldfish crackers (because at this point, f*ck saltines), green apples, and cheese sticks worked for me.

Try to get some protein in, if you can. That’s what’ll keep you fuller, which can help. That doesn’t have to mean meat, because meat can be pretty unappetizing if you feel sick — try peanut butter on your saltines or toast, the aforementioned cheese stick, some beans in whatever else you’re eating, or greek yogurt, if you can stomach it.

So, those are my tips. I still felt like death for quite some time — okay, I still feel like death on a fairly frequent basis, honestly — but these things sometimes made the difference between lying in bed crying and being able to function for things like work and showering and existing outside of my bedroom.

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Early Pregnancy After Loss

Early pregnancy after loss is visceral fear.

It is waking up every morning expecting to be bleeding. It is wondering, when you are not bleeding, if and when it will begin.

It is feeling relief at every day that goes by, but also terror — the further I get, the more it will hurt if it all falls apart.

It is analyzing every twinge, ache, and pain. It is being afraid of your own body while hoping that your body will do what it’s supposed to do this time. It’s hating your body and loving it for its possibilities at the same time.

It is other people championing your pregnancy and loving the potential baby that you are scared to acknowledge.

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It is marking days on a calendar — if I get past this one I’ll be clear of the timing of loss #3. If I get past this day we’ll be clear of loss #1. I will see the specialist on the same day loss #2 took place… if I get that far.

It is not being able to think more than a day ahead, but simultaneously wishing for that all-clear day looming in the future. Maybe.

It is knowing that relief probably will never come until there is a baby on the outside.

It is slowly coming out of the fear, still knowing all too well that things can go wrong at any moment.

It is mourning your own innocence and understanding that things will never quite be the same.

It is feeling guilty, when you’re dealing with the challenging parts of pregnancy — it’s knowing that if you weren’t on the other side you would kind of hate yourself for being a complainer. It’s feeling lost somewhere in the middle of that.

It is walking out of your 11-week appointment feeling relieved that it was short, with nothing really to discuss — when with your first pregnancy, you were kinda annoyed that there wasn’t anything major to talk about. It’s recognizing the relief in hearing ‘we’ll just stick to seeing you every month.’

It is hating that vulnerable, exposed feeling of telling people about the pregnancy, of accepting congratulations.

It is a lot. It’s a lot to deal with. It feels unfair and miraculous at the same time. It’s a weird place to be. It’s a place I never thought I would be. But I got through the early stages, and am moving along — I’ve let go of the countdowns to doctor’s appointments, I declined the 12-week scan because the thought of having to drive five hours each way to Thunder Bay for an ultrasound was too much, even for me and my anxiety, and I’ve been able to open my mind up to the future, bit by bit.

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REVIEW: Theo PB&J Bark

A friend hooked me up with a few offerings from Theo, straight out of Seattle — now that I can finally stomach chocolate again I’ve jumped right in and the next several chocolate reviews are a Theo-palooza, starting with my new favourite.

This is the Theo PB&J bark, which, as far as I know, you can’t get anywhere other than the factory. Just look at this picture:

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I usually try to keep a bit of what I sample aside, because I’m not the only one in my family who likes chocolate. In this case… I took one piece out, ate it, then went back and finished the other two off. Sorry not sorry, family.

I had no idea what to expect when I popped this into my mouth but my immediate thought was OMG that is good. It has all of the flavours and textures you would expect from PB&J in chocolate form — salty, fruity, chewy, crunchy, with a great blend of delicious, smooth chocolate that doesn’t add or subtract too much from the whole blend. I want to eat a zillion more of these.

With that being said, by the time I got around to this it was a month past its best before date. I’m not sure how much freshness affects this kind of thing, and it was firmly wrapped up prior to eating it, but I bet it’d be even more amazing straight out of the factory. If you have a chance to get your hands on this stuff, DO IT.

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Food Quirks (or: It Took Me 20+ Years to Like Nutella)

I had a BLT for lunch, which got me thinking about all of the ‘normal’ foods it took me forever to eat and/or enjoy. I’m infamous in my family for being one of those kids who only ate chicken fingers, and that picky eating continued for quite some time. I have historically not been very brave about various textures and tastes of food, though I’ve gotten much better in my journey to adulthood. There’s not much I’m not willing to try, now, but if we look back on my history of food quirks…

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Poutine – pre-kindergarten

Poutine is awesome. Obviously. French fries, cheese curds, gravy — can’t go wrong. If I see legitimate poutine on a menu these days (because for some reason cheese curds stop existing somewhere north of Thunder Bay), it’s what I’m getting. But before I was in kindergarten my mom briefly ran a chip truck, and I refused to entertain the thought of poutine, because the name sounded gross.

Mayo – pre-kindergarten+

I still remember asking my mom to let me try mayo for the first time. Instead of putting it on something that would taste good she put it on white bread with nothing else. It was gross. I don’t know if it was mayo or Miracle Whip, but I refused to eat both all the way through high school. Every BLT and chicken burger I ordered was dry. I think one day I accidentally tried it on a sandwich and enjoyed it.

I still don’t know if I like mayo or Miracle Whip (one’s gross but I forget which one); homemade immersion blender mayo is still the best.

Caesar salad – age 17, East Side Mario’s

I spent the last two summers of high school working at a fishing lodge. The last summer, my friend and co-worker had a car, and sometimes we’d take off after dinner shift and hightail it to the East Side Mario’s in Kingston and get there shortly before closing because a) we couldn’t leave earlier and b) they gave us all of their leftover bread. I finally tried Caesar salad and realized it wasn’t gross.

Pita wrap – age 17, Pilot Pita

On university orientation day our leaders took us off-campus to Pilot Pita. I had never eaten a pita/wrap before. I had studiously avoided the famously-delicious Caesar wraps in the high school caf (see above). But there was nowhere else to go and I was in a huge line so I ordered what the girl ahead of me ordered and found out that Caesar wraps, especially the ones from PP, are amazing. I spent a lot of money there over the next two years.

Cream cheese – age 17, university

I ordered a bagel with butter from the little food outlet on the ground floor of my dorm building. They put cream cheese on it. I was in a rush and starving. I ate it. I regretted not eating it before that.

Sushi – early 20s, Ottawa

My dad and sister took me to a sushi restaurant. I spit my piece of sushi out essentially as soon as it hit my mouth. Sorry, friends, but sticky rice and raw fish cannot be made into something appealing. I ate tempura fried things instead.

Runny eggs – age 20, British Columbia

I always, always ordered my eggs done in a manner that the yolk was not even slightly drippy. Then my boss introduced me to a hash on our breakfast menu that was topped with poached eggs and I suddenly realized that drippy eggs are AWESOME. I can even make my own, now.

Lobster – age 20, British Columbia

Tried it for the first time at a German restaurant. I still don’t get the hype over lobster.

Oysters – age 20 (?), wedding afterparty

I spent the evening drinking ciders, then found myself surrounded by chefs and raw oysters in the kitchen at the afterparty. Tipsy bravado won out. It wasn’t that bad but I probably wouldn’t eat one again.

Fried alligator – age 21, New Orleans

My sister insisted we order something else off the menu at Pat O’Briens because it was raining and we didn’t want to leave. I had enough Hurricanes that I was willing to try the fried alligator. It legitimately tasted like chicken. I realize this is not on the normal list of food for most people but it was a moment of bravery for me.

Coleslaw – mid-20s, home

Coleslaw, for the longest time, was that neon-green shit from KFC, found in a styrofoam container. Nasty (I’m presuming — I still haven’t eaten that stuff). Then I learned how to make my own and found out that shredded vegetables and homemade dressing is about thirty thousand times better than that strangely dish-shaped green stuff.

Nutella – mid-20s, home

And the kicker. Nutella. Delicious, delicious Nutella. A friend of mine had Nutella sandwiches all the time for lunches in elementary school and I thought it was the most appalling concept in the world. It turns out that chocolate + hazelnut + carbs is not appalling.


There are probably even more that I just can’t remember. Make me feel better? Tell me what normal foods you haven’t eaten/took forever to try. I can’t be the only one.

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