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Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

So, it’s been some time since my last post.  I have good reason though, b

 

elieve it or not.  I traveled to my hometown state of Minnesota for a visit with my grandparents and my parents, who drove up from Oklahoma.  While I was there we celebrated my Grandma’s birthday … once again, Gram, happy birthday to you!  I had a great time! 

I ate plenty while I was there.  Actually, more than I would like to admit.  Even to myself.  I will just say one thing – Kathy, if you are out there reading, please e-mail me your recipe for the mini cheesecakes.  They were fabulous!  100% delicious.  I would love for them to make a blog appearance.  They were just too good.

OK, going back to eating plenty … upon my return home to my husband and frisky little furball, I was still in the mood for some good ol’ home cooking.  That’s where the loaves come to play.  I found this recipe several month’s ago while browsing Martha Stewart’s site and knew that I would find the perfect night to whip these little babies up eventually.

 

Mini Honey-Mustard (Turkey) Loaves

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These were really good and very husband- (and I would bank on child-) friendly.  I served ours with roasted sweet potato wedges.  The original recipe for the meatloaves can be found here.  My modified version …

Ingredients:

(For two)

  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • ~1 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/8 c. egg substitute
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 c. shredded cheese

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix together honey, mustard and BBQ sauce.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine turkey, minced onion, bread crumbs, egg substitute, salt, pepper, 1/8 c. cheese, plus 1 tbsp. mustard-BBQ sauce.  Mix well and form into two mini loaves.  Top each loaf with equal amounts of remaining mustard-BBQ sauce and cheese.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

 

Now, on to some overdue biz … I need to give a shout-out to Kristina, with Stonyfield Farms, who was kind enough to send me coupons for Oikos Greek yogurt.  She spotted that I’m a huge fan of Greek yogurt, having only purchased Chobani previously and thought I should give her brand a go. 

 

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When it comes to Greek yogurt, we always have a stash of the plain variety in our fridge, since that is also our substitute for sour cream.  Unfortunately, I was only able to find blueberry and vanilla at my go-to store, but I’m sure the plain Oikos is out there somewhere.  I just need to look a little harder.  Thus far, I have only taste-tested the blueberry variety.  A penny for my thoughts … well, it was definitely thicker and creamier than the Chobani brand.  The blueberries I found on the bottom weren’t overly sweetened either.  Another plus.  Overall I thought it was really tasty.  The only drawback from my point as a consumer is that the price is higher than the Chobani brand and I don’t think there is that much of a difference in taste/quality for me to justify the price difference.  I will enjoy them while I have them though.  Thanks again for the coupons, Kristina.

Have a great day, everyone!

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Just Like Mama Makes

Ahh, good ol’ Saturday.  A very good day.  OK, folks, jumping right in … I don’t want to talk much about my food today.  Why, you ask?  Well, I didn’t really like it, so it doesn’t feel worthy.  The tuna was WAY too fishy and ruined the entire meal for me.  I can’t do fishy fish.  I only ate half and then called it quits.

 

Tuna Burrito with Honey Wasabi Cream

Tuna Burrito with Honey Wasabi Cream

 

We’ve attempted this re-make before, but it never turns out as good as one of our favorite restaurants can make it.  Of course.  What ever does?? 

The authentic version hails from Cabo Fish Taco, located only in Charlotte and Blacksburg, VA.  They have the best food ever (and I say that fully aware that I’ve never ordered anything there but the tuna burrito.)  I just know.  Prices are so right and the atmosphere is maxin’ relaxin. 

I will give honorable mention to the Honey Wasabi Cream that I slathered all over the tortilla to hide the fishy taste.  If you like wasabi, give this spread a go.  We’ve enjoyed many a time before and it’s so, so good.

Honey Wasabi Cream

  • 3 tbsp. light mayo
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. wasabi (more or less, according to taste)
  • 1 tsp. water

Stir all ingredients together and chill for at least 2 hours.

 

To redeem my loss in the kitchen, I believe a trip to Cabo Fish Taco is in order.  Know what I mean??  😉

 

What I really want to talk about today is cookies.  Yep, I said it.  Cookies like mama makes.  The original.  The classic.  The chocolate chip cookie.

I ran into this article while perusing my Yahoo homepage and thought it blog worthy.  Hey, we’re all foodies, right?  Albeit, healthy foodies, but even healthy foodies need a little chocolate chip lovin’ every now and then.  The quickest (and sometimes best) way to fill that sudden need is to run right out and pick up a pack of cookie crumbly goodness. 

This little guide should help, well, guide you …

Supermarket Chocolate Chip Cookie Taste Test

#1 Brent & Sam’s: A delicious case of less is more. These thick, crunchy goodies are less sweet and less processed tasting than other varieties. With good texture and rich chocolate flavor, they tasted closest to the “real thing.” We had trouble stopping at just a few!

#2 Health Valley Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies: Buyers beware! These unbelievably tasty little delights are addicting. They may be mini in size, but the taste is max. They’re so irresistible we even find ourselves snacking on them first thing in the morning. After all, they do have “health” in the name…

#3 Newman’s Own Organics Champion Chip Cookies (in Chocolate Chip): These mighty bites of heaven prove that organic can easily be delicious. Like Health Valley, these are very small. The taste is good and medium sweet, with a distinct nutty flavor. They’re a bit light on chips, but satisfying nonetheless.

#4 Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chunky Dark Chocolate: Satisfying, natural tasting, crunchy, and B-I-G; we loved these cookies. For a mass-market brand, Pepperidge Farm surprises us with its mouthwatering goods. And the dark chocolate gives an extra indulgent kick that got us hooked.

To view the full list, please visit this site.

Or, you could always whip up a batch of your own.  Which leads me to ask, what secret ingredient do you add to your chocolate chip cookies to make them over-the-top?

 

Have a great day, love bugs!  XOXO

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Hi everyone!  Happy Sunday night!  You know, I can hear Lindsay hooting and hollering all the way down here … her beloved Eagles beat the Vikings and are one step further in the playoffs.  I wasn’t rooting for either, but being the wife of a football fanatic, of course, the games were on and I had one ear taking it all in. 

 

Toasted muffin with crunchy Maranatha PB and strawberry jelly and sliced banana with vanilla Chob, a sprinkle of Grape Nuts and dried cranberries

B: Toasted muffin with PB+J and sliced banana with vanilla Chob, a sprinkle of Grape Nuts and dried cranberries

 

In honor of the fabulous Miss Eating Bender, I dusted off our P90X Kenpo DVD and worked out with that today.  It felt good to kick my own bum.  Jenn posted about receiving the P90X program for Christmas and how excited she was to get started once she got back to school. 

Both Devin and I have been working out with Tony Horton, the fearless, energetic leader, for the past couple years.  I never followed the program exactly as intended, but rather chose the DVD’s that I enjoyed the most and dabbled around with them.

 

Spinach salad with veggies and fresh chickpeas plus a black bean burger on an Arnold's Thin

L: Spinach salad with veggies and fresh chickpeas plus a Morningstar black bean burger on an Arnold's Thin

 

My top choices are Legs + Back (which I mentioned in my post this AM), Kenpo, Plyometrics, Cardio X, Core Synergistics, plus the P90X Plus workouts, Interval X and Total Body Plus.

The program has several DVD’s that are focused on upper body strength training.  I don’t care for that degree of workout for my upper body, so I skip on those.  Devin does them regularly and it has been amazing to watch the major changes that have taken place to his body.  Hubba hubba.

If you’re looking for an in-home, butt-kickin’ workout, check this program out.  I highly recommend it since I have also seen major changes in my body since beginning these DVD’s.  When I started training for my triathlon, I focused only on running, swimming and biking.  The DVD’s got pushed to the way-side, with the exception of Legs + Back, but now that it’s on my brain again, I’ve been pulling them out and I’m really enjoying the blood, sweat and tears.

 

Turkey Meatball Heroes

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These guys were pretty basic … turkey meatballstomato saucemushrooms, bell peppers, onions, a sprinkle of Mozzarella on a mutli-grain hoagie.  On the side … kale chips and they were delicious, as always. 

 

I’m signing off for the night.  I’m whooped for some reason … maybe it’s a carb coma from all the bread products I consumed today.  Gotta love them carbs.  Num yummy. 

Enjoy the rest of your evening!

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Hello people!  Hope you are well and that your day was more productive than mine.  The only time I pried my bum from the couch was to fix myself something to eat and to get more, more, more water. 

The headache is now gone, I’m just really sleepy.  Lack of sleep is not my forte.  Dev joined me on the couch today, in slightly better shape than I.  There we lay, like broccoli, all snuggled up … two bugs in a rug. 

While he watched bowl game after bowl game, I finished my book, Phantom Prey, by John Sandford.  This is the latest book (#18) in his Prey series, featuring detective Lucas Davenport.  I have read all 18 books in the series and always look forward to the next case to be cracked by the bad-arse cop, Davenport.

My eats today weren’t as bad as they could have been, considering my first impulse this morning was to stop at Chick-Fil-A on our way home and grab a chicken biscuit to-go.  We found them closed for the holiday and continued home with mixed emotions … sad we didn’t get our “hangover” junk eats, but secretly glad that we would be forced to make something more health appropriate at home.

 

Breakfast:

 

Warmed granola with sliced banana, soy and a PB spoon

Warmed granola with sliced banana, soy and a PB spoon

 

That was about as far as my camera skills went for the rest of the morning and afternoon.  I was wreaking of laze today.  Hence, no pictures of my snacks and lunch. 

 

Here’s a quick synopsis:

  • Snack #1:  Toasted TJ’s muffin with crunchy PB + strawberry preserves
  • Snack #2:  Banana
  • Lunch:  TJ’s Breaded Chicken Tenderloin (2 pieces) with melted Swiss cheese on a wheat bun with Frank’s Hot Sauce and Ranch Dressing.  Oh yeah.  Mmm mm good. 😀
  • Snack #3:  Apple

 

Looking back over my list, it’s not as bad as I thought.  Guess it really does help to keep healthy snacks around the house.  Given the opportunity, I would’ve gladly done some damage to a bag of potato chips, gallon of ice cream or a box of freshly baked Krispy Kreme’s.  Now, that’s a hangover, ladies and gents.  Once again a reason as to why I don’t mix well with overindulging.

 

Ok, ok.  I’m done with that nonsense and on to dinner.  In the spirit of the New Year, it is traditional for Southern folk to enjoy a meal that includes black-eyed peas, collard greens and pork. 

 

A little explanation …

  • Black-eyed peas are symbolic of coin money.  They swell when they cook and therefore are consumed with financial rewards in mind.
  • Collard greens represent paper money, thus symbolic of economic fortune.
  • Pork is said to signify wealth and prosperity (we used ham that I had in the freezer.)

 

Well, needless to say, I wasn’t up for much cooking tonight, so I whipped together an appetizer portion of our “Good Fortune” eats a la microwave, saving the remaining ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner. 

I certainly didn’t want to jinx our luck since I was simply too slow-moving to make a respectable New Year’s dinner …

 

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Dinner tonight was compliments of Trader Joe’s freezer section –

 

Mandarin Orange Chicken with Chicken Fried Rice

Mandarin Orange Chicken with Chicken Fried Rice

 

I learned a few shopping trips back from a TJ’s employee that the Mandarin Orange Chicken was the #1 selling frozen food item.  I decided to grab some for those “in a pinch” times. 

I decided to bake the chicken in the oven, instead of following the skillet directions, which called for a 1/4 cup of oil in the pan.  When it was ready, it looked a tad bit on the greasy side, so we patted each piece down with paper towels before tossing them in the orange sauce.

I was pretty impressed.  The flavor was spot-on and it was a much healthier alternative to the same dish if ordered at a Chinese take-out.

We really only had about 1/2 cup of fried rice left in the bag that had been in the freezer forever.  It served it’s purpose.  Our bellies were happy.

Okey dokey artichokey, time flies when I’m a typin’ and it’s way past my bedtime.  Sweet dreams!

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Gotcha … FINALLY

Hello.  Got a little story to tell ya …

I made my normal rounds through the grocery yesterday, checking items off my list as I went.  I wasn’t in the need for any bread products, so I started to walk past that glorious aisle.  As I was doing so, I casually glanced over to my left …

 

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B: Ditto of yesterday ... to a "T"

 

Now, I’m not going to give away my “Gotcha” surprise that fast.  That’s just no fun.  I’m sure that once I brief you on the history of my challenge to find these, you will probably have it all figured out …

I started seeing these babies around blogs several months ago.  They looked right up my alley, so I started my search at all the local grocery stores.  I kept searching and searching, each and every time coming up empty handed. 

I continued to see them, day in and day out, being described in such mouth-watering detail by all my bloggie friends.  I started commenting on how delicious they looked and how I was having such a hard time finding them.  Maybe I thought the good fairy would go ahead and drop them in my lap.  You know, for being such a dedicated foodie and all.

At this point, I started to panic.  Where in the mad cow were they?!  It’s not like I live in BFE or anything!!  Argh.

So, what does any desperate women in my situation do?  She goes straight to the top.  An inquiry e-mail was sent directly to the company.

Here’s what I received in return, along with a letter stating they should arrive in Charlotte stores in mid-December …

 

Figure it out yet??

Figure it out yet??

 

So, that takes me back to my trip to the grocery yesterday … I casually glanced over to my left and saw these jewels, in all their glory –

 

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This girl sure loves her carbs.  Oh yeah.  I had to restrain myself from buying every single package on the shelf.  The kicker was that I didn’t even have my coupons with me.  Go figure.

 

Soup and Sandy ... Sandwich Thin with a leftover mini meatloaf in between.

L: Soup and Sandy ... toasted Sandwich Thin with a sliced leftover mini meatloaf in between.

 

My thoughts?  They were good.  Wished I would have toasted it a little bit longer since it was still kinda soft.  I like my bread really, really toasty.  I’m not thrilled about the enriched flour in the ingredient list, but I can overlook that in this case.  I feel I need a second tasting to give my final opinion … I’m such a HUGE fan of Trader Joe’s British Muffins that it’s hard to find anything that compares.

A big thank you to Arnold for actually taking the time to respond to my inquiry and sending me coupons.

I’m out for now.  I will be posting tonight’s dinner in the AM.  Have a fantastic evening!

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