Get Your QUARK on!

Good Sunday morning to you! I hope the month of September has been a pleasant one for you and one filled with happiness, good weather and soaking up the last days of the Summer season! It’s hard to believe the Fall season is only days away, but I must admit, I am looking forward to apple picking, enjoying the tastes of winter squash, and taking in the beautiful assortment of Fall foliage!

That being said, I tend to think of the Fall season as a prime chance for new beginnings. For me, the Fall season has always been synonymous with starting over, taking on new projects and in this case, expanding my tastebuds and my packaged foods repertoire! Recently, I was provided with the unique and extraordinary opportunity to sample a new and innovative dairy product, Elli Quark! If you’re unfamiliar with Elli Quark, let me assure you in saying, you are in for a real treat. For those who may be fans of yogurt, especially of the Greek variety, Elli Quark is an excellent alternative and an opportunity to add variety and a chance of pace to the usual tastes of yogurt.

Elli Quark flavors listing

As a brief background of Elli Quark, it is an Orange County, California based company, founded by Preya Patel Bhakta in 2011, following immense tasting and exploration, cultivating a love for Quark, a German-style creamy cheese with the consistency and similar flavor to Greek yogurt. With the tagline, “Say Cheese! It’s yummier than yogurt,” Elli Quark prides itself in boasting it is almost half the calories of traditional Greek yogurt (Elli Quark’s 80 calories per 6oz container vs. 140 calories in a traditional 5.3oz Greek yogurt), plus it is almost 3X the protein in comparison to a traditional non-Greek yogurt (Elli Quark’s 14g of protein vs. 5g in a traditional, non-Greek yogurt). Also, for those wishing to limit or reduce their daily sugar-intake, Elli Quark is the ideal solution, with a mere 6g per container and absolutely NO artificial sweeteners! Both traditional and Greek yogurts often supply a whopping 26g of sugar or artificial sweeteners, so Elli Quark’s numbers are vastly impressive.

Elli Quark

Elli Quark Facts:

  • Questions about what Quark actually is? The official Elli Quark website (via http://www.elliquark.com) states it is a “spoonable fresh cheese with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt, but with a richer, less sour taste and is lower in carbohydrates, high in protein, and is without any added sugars.”
  • Non-GMO, with all-natural ingredients.
  • Active on Social Media: Follow Elli Quark on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Plus, be sure to check-out their website (www.elliquark.com) to sign up for their newsletter and emails and the opportunity to print a coupon off a container or two!
  • Safe for All: Elli Quark is not only vegetarian-friendly, but also free of corn, nut and soy, with no preservatives, added sugars or artificial sweeteners, no gelatin, no gluten or any starchy fillers! It is truly a product you can feel safe eating, cooking, and experimenting with in the kitchen!
  • Uses for Elli Quark: Feel comfortable and take pride in knowing there are numerous ways to enjoy Elli Quark. Whether it is spooning into a container for an enjoyable snack, addition to a meal, ingredient in your baking and cooking, as a topping, or a spread, the possibilities are endless!
  • Containers of Elli Quark are a full 6oz, versus the typical 5.3oz container of a traditional Greek yogurt! Therefore, you’re not only receiving more Quark for your money, but also (in my opinion, is more filling than regular Greek yogurt)

Elli Quark facts

Elli Quark Flavors:

  • Plain
  • Mint Chocolate
  • Bananas Foster
  • Peach
  • Sea Salt Caramel
  • Lemon
  • Blueberry
  • Strawberry
  • Pineapple
  • Red Velvet
  • Cherry
  • Vanilla Bean

Elli Quark facts two

How to Get Elli Quark:

So at this point, you may be thinking, okay, Elli Quark sounds amazing, BUT, how in the world do I get it? If you’re thinking this, believe me, I definitely understand and can relate. I felt this way at some point not along ago, myself. Reading all about it on some of my favorite blogs, I wanted to get my hands on a container as soon as possible, especially after seeing these flavors and the impressive nutritional facts (80 calories, plus 14 grams of protein and NOTHING artificial?! That alone had me convinced!). So without further adieu, here are your options:

  • Head on over to Elliquark.com and use their store locator tool (https://www.elliquark.com/locate/#/map) Simply type in your zip code and voila, store locations will populate, OR if you fail to return any store locations in your general area, no worries, there are still other options available to you.
  • Order online via Elliquark.com: The ordering process is simple and easy, plus you can BUILD YOUR OWN 12-Pack, with up to 4 FLAVORS! Therefore, the ordering process is truly individualized, so it is to your own, unique specifications. For those of you who might be concerned about how it stays fresh through all that travel, your concerns can be alleviated and you can be reassured in knowing they are neatly and securely packed in a large box with reusable gel packs, keeping all containers extremely cold and fresh! If you’re still concerned, I can personally attest this is true. In the box I received, everything felt as though it was being pulled directly from a refrigerator and was neatly packed. Once your order is received, it is shipped within 1-3 business days and arrives at your home shortly after.
  • Request it at your local store: If you’d rather purchase Elli Quark in-store, but it isn’t currently offered, feel free to request it through contacting your local store’s dairy manager.

How is Elli Quark Sweetened?

You might be wondering how Elli Quark gets its sweetness if it does not contain any added sugars or artificial sweeteners and the answer is simple: through Stevia and Erythritol, plant-based sweeteners. They are naturally-occurring and are not said to cause any digestion-based side effects, spikes in blood sugars and contain zero calories.

My Review:

As I mentioned, I was recently provided with a shipment of all 12 flavors of Elli Quark! I was so excited and overjoyed to have been provided with this opportunity to sample and review. Unlike other companies who may use artificial dyes or other ingredients, Elli Quark uses real, fresh fruit in their fruit-flavors and after trying several containers, the actual taste of the fruit truly shines through. For instance, in the pineapple flavor, I felt as though I was being transported to the tropics as I spooned into the container, noting the sweet, familiar flavors of pineapple, with the creamy Quark texture. Similarly, in the blueberry, cherry and peach flavors, I felt as though I was indulging in a creamy custard or decadent dessert, as the sweetness and satisfying flavors of the fruit worked in ideal conjunction to the creaminess of the quark. It provided balance and texture, as each container of Elli Quark left me feeling pleasantly satisfied and appeased my appetite.

Elli Quark in a bowl

A full 6oz, I felt as though the container of Elli Quark was a heartier texture than the Greek yogurts I typically consume and a welcomed change from the often tangy taste of Greek yogurt. One of the most impressive flavors in my opinion and my definite favorite is the Vanilla Bean. Given the price and uniqueness of a true vanilla bean, it is rare to find a yogurt, ice cream, or really any product with an authentic vanilla bean. However, in the vanilla bean flavor of Elli Quark, it is actually made with real vanilla beans straight from their pod! Immediately upon removing the lid of the container, you can instantly see the flecks of the vanilla bean throughout the quark and the actual, vanilla flavor shines through. It is truly unlike any vanilla flavor I’ve tasted and one I could stand to enjoy multiple times throughout the week!

In my opinion, Elli Quark is a unique and valuable addition to the dairy shelves and one I am proud and excited to see! It is refreshing to have another product to add to my breakfasts, snack options and recipes, rather than simply relying on Greek or traditional yogurts. With the most unique flavors I’ve seen, I can’t wait to continue following along in Elli Quark’s journey and see and try the other flavors and products to come! I hope you’ll join me!

*A big thanks to the welcoming and kind team at Elli Quark who generously provided me with this unique opportunity to sample and review their products! It was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and savored and am truly thankful to have had the chance.

Everything We Don’t See

It’s been a rough couple weeks for me, to say the least. It’s hard to place into words how it’s made me feel and where I am, emotionally right now, but nonetheless, I am trying my utmost best to pull through and keep my head up. I know that life can change at any instant, in both a positive and negative light, so I keep looking towards the future with the hope that life gets better. What I can control, I try to do so with good intentions. Like I’ve said before, intent is one of the most important aspects of life, or at least, to me it is anyway. It was something I learned at one of my old jobs. They used to stress the importance of intent in everything we did. I worked in a customer service department of a health insurance related company and the entire day consisted of me assisting individuals over the phone with their health insurance issues and questions. I didn’t always feel the most confident in my abilities, but the main thing the company wanted us to focus on was our intent. If our intent is always to help, then the other steps of correctly answering the customers’ questions or resolving their issues comes second. We can always find another co-worker, supervisor or employee to help us in answering the customer’s question, but if our good intent is missing, then all is downhill from there. When I first heard this perspective, it was a new concept to me. For most of my life, I had always focused on how well I could answer questions and resolve issues. For instance, throughout school, in math class, the goal is mainly to answer the questions correctly, and so I never really considered the steps I took in getting there. I later realized that we can take many of the correct steps and still come up with the wrong answer, but as long as initial instinct and intent was on the right path, then that is really what is most important.

What I more or less mean, is that we don’t always see what successes we’ve made, or how much we’ve accomplished through life if we don’t have something tangible to show for it. In other words, just because we don’t have an abundance of wealth, a large amount of “friends,” the largest house or a closet full of designer clothing, does not mean we haven’t been successful or made good choices in our lives. It doesn’t mean we haven’t helped someone by offering a helping hand or listening ear. It doesn’t mean we haven’t inspired a child by fully listening to them and encouraging them. It also doesn’t mean we aren’t beautiful just because our faces aren’t blemish free, or our hair isn’t poker straight, sans free of frizz and split ends. It just means we are beautiful in a different way, a way that is unique to what is thought to be conventionally “beautiful.” The meaning and connotation of beautiful is so very different to each and every person.

My aforementioned thoughts were more or less inspired by a quote shared by my cousin on Facebook. A couple days ago, I was innocently trolling through Facebook posts, when I stumbled across my cousin’s, which spoke to and resonated with me in more ways than I can truly verbalize. Perhaps you’ve seen it before or maybe not, but all the same, I thought it was best for me to share it in hopes that maybe someone else who could be reading this, might be as inspired or intrigued as I was:

“It doesn’t make sense to call ourselves ugly, because we don’t really see ourselves. We don’t watch ourselves sleeping in bed, curled up silent with our chests rising & falling with our own rhythm. We don’t see ourselves reading a book, eyes fluttering and glowing. You don’t see yourself looking at someone with love and care in your heart. There’s no mirror in your way when you’re laughing and smiling and pure happiness is leaking out of you. You would know exactly how bright and beautiful you are if you saw yourself in the moments where you are truly your authentic self.

Reading this lead me to question, when am I my most authentic self? I’m my most authentic self when I am laughing with those I love most, forgetting about all the insecurities, failures, missed opportunities and chances. I’m most my authentic self when the disappointments and sadness I feel are pushed aside because I’m having too much fun and joy seeing my niece smiling and waving and experiencing all the goodness of life for the first time. I’m most my most authentic self when I look outside at the leaves beginning to fall and see not a missed opportunity at a changing season, but a chance for a pleasant and fulfilling future filled with love, happiness and success.

Season Quote