Archive for the ‘Product Review’ Category

One thing I love about the first few weeks of January is that the grocery stores seem to have more healthy foods on sale than normal. I take advantage of the savings by stocking up on the healthy things we eat regularly, and also by trying some new things. Like a lot of other bloggers, I opted to stay in yesterday rather than brave the winter wonderland. That gave me plenty of time to check out some of those new-to-me finds.

Breakfast was a new-to-me treat, Kashi 7-grain waffles.

I’ve never bought these before because they’re a bit on the expensive side so it was a treat to see them on sale. I usually buy the “other brand’s” low-fat waffles. They’re pretty good when I want a waffle fix, but don’t keep me full for very long. These new waffles were delicious! They had tons of flavor and kept me full for several hours. The ingredients were much less processed and, for those who are wondering, they’re the same number of PointsPlus values  as “those other” waffles. I’m definitely going to watch for these to go on sale again and for coupons.

For lunch, I decided to fix something I’ve read about quite often in the blogosphere, but never tried until yesterday. Tempeh!

The cooking directions on the package were a little vague so I wanted a tried-and-true way to eat it. Most recently, I remembered reading about tempeh on Cynthia’s blog. A quick search led me to her directions for Banh Mi. I didn’t have any spinach and I don’t really like carrots so no banh mi for me. However, I did get the inspiration to put my tempeh in a wrap and I heated it according to her directions. Inside the wrap I layered romaine lettuce, sprouts, the tempeh and dijon mustard. The tortilla was so full that I couldn’t really get it to wrap and ended up eating it like a taco.

I really, really liked the tempeh and will definitely buy it again, on sale or not. Cynthia informed me (via a reply to my comment on her post) that tempeh had a “different texture.” She was absolutely right, but I found it to be a nice texture. It’s very hard to describe the flavor, but there’s lots of it! If you haven’t tried tempeh, I’d encourage you to give it a go.

With my tempeh wrap, I had a mug o’ lentil soup from the batch I made on Sunday.

This was also a new-to-me recipe from The Volumetrics Eating Plan. My husband bought this book a few years ago when he first became interested in eating more healthy. We successfully made a few recipes and then sort of forgot about it. I revived it in my recent quest for new recipes and found a lot of dishes I want to try. This one is definitely a keeper.

Together, it made for a wonderful, filling lunch.

My husband got home from work pretty early and we headed to the gym for a triceps and chest workout. He recently downloaded the free JEFIT app for his android phone and has been torturing me with it sharing it with me. We haven’t really even begun to dig into all the features, but we’ve figured out the basics.

Basically, the app lets you view and select exercises by the part of the body you’re aiming to target.

The app has several predefined workouts which you can do as is or add/remove exercises to suit your needs. You can also start from scratch by selecting individual exercises to create your own routine.

If you’re not sure how to perform a certain exercise, there’s also a free downloadable player that allows you to view animations for each move.

So far we’ve done two of the preset workouts using this app and I must say that I’m impressed. My husband has some experience with weights and likes the way it’s put together. I’m fairly new to “real” lifting and it’s still easy for me to use. It’s helping me build my confidence around the free weights and machines which is a huge benefit in my mind.

After our workout it was home for dinner, also a new recipe. This one came from the same cookbook as my lentil soup from lunch. Italian Turkey Spirals were time consuming t0 prep, but fun to assemble and tasted delicious!

As suggested in the recipe, I also made the Tomato and Fresh Basil Sauce (a separate recipe in the same book) to go with the spirals. Served with whole wheat spaghetti, this was the perfect mix of protein and carbs for a post-workout meal. Oh, and there are green beans hiding in the back there for some veggie goodness.

My husband was super impressed with this dinner and I really liked it, too. I’ll definitely make it again. Since we didn’t use much of the sauce, there was enough left over to freeze and use later for another meal.

What new food or fitness ideas have you discovered in 2011?

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win a Dr. Weil audiobook! Entries close Friday at midnight EST.


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Hola bloggies! Sorry I missed ya yesterday. We had to take Peanut to the cardiologist for a follow-up appointment which took up a majority of the day. Everything is fine. She’s had a heart murmur since birth and the doctors just want to keep an eye on it.

I had to decide between blogging and running in the little free time I did have yesterday evening. Pretty sure you can figure out which one I chose. There was rain almost all day so I was really excited when the weather broke and I got to lace up and head out. I did a mile to the bike path, 3 miles on the trail and a mile back home for a total of 5 miles! That probably seems like a mere pittance to most of you, but I’ve never run any further than that and the last time I achieved the feat was back in early 2008. Then, I was doing the distance once a week. I seriously slacked on my running after we got married as I adjusted to married life, a new town and an hour commute to work. I’m not sure why, but hitting that 5 mile mark again felt like a major milestone.

My Tuesday eats were pretty uninspired so I’m backtracking to Monday. Peanut and I went to our Mom & Baby group at the hospital in the morning, then hit the road to visit my BFF and her 2 week old little boy. When I’m in Dayton, I always make it a point to stop at Dorothy Lane Market. I’ve posted about my love for this local, gourmet foods market before. That’s where I headed for lunch on this journey, too.

I always get sushi when I’m there because there are absolutely no stores or restaurants near our town that sell or serve it. I picked up some Tokyo Fantasy which is basically just spicy tuna rolls with brown rice.

I spotted a delicious Greek Shrimp Orzo Salad in the deli case. I decided to get a small container of the salad instead of the spring
rolls I normally get to accompany my suuuu-shay.

I wasn’t disappointed. It was delicious! It wasn’t overly oily (which I’ve found true of most deli pasta salads) and had the perfect blend of orzo, shrimp, kalamata olives, herbs and various diced veggies.

I hit the Boston Stoker coffee cart on my way out the door for a Skinny Lady Latte. It’s basically just a skim white chocolate latte, but they seem to taste better there than anywhere else. I think it’s their exceptional quality espresso.

We had a fantastic visit with my BFF and her little man. In 7 months I’d honestly forgotten house teeny tiny newborns really are. I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures because he was either eating or sleeping the entire time we were there. My BFF and I have decided that our kids will go to prom together so I guess there’s always that photo op to look forward to enjoying. 🙂

My husband worked late and I wasn’t at all hungry come evening. I just had a cup of hot tea while I fed Peanut her dinner. This wasn’t just any hot tea. It was the best Earl Grey tea I think I’ve ever had. I picked it up on a whim while we were at Dorothy Lane Market. I’m not sure what made this Kensington Earl Grey so good, but I’m sure glad I decided to give it a try.

What was the last fitness milestone you achieved?

Have you checked out Yoga Pose May yet? I’ve been following along day by day and it’s awesome. I’m learning a lot about yoga and feeling inspired to incorporate it into my fitness routine more often. I’ve also discovered an abundance of new blogs to add to my Google Reader. As if I weren’t having enough trouble keeping up with that thing before, now it’s just plain ridiculous. 🙂

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Good morning, bloggies! Guess what? It’s FRIDAY!!! Who’s excited? I know I am. It’s going to be a busier than usual weekend for us, but all fun stuff.

Starting the morning off with some great news, I was down 3.8 at Weight Watchers weigh-in yesterday! Woo to the hoo fo sho! It was a huge boost to my confidence after two weeks of small gains.

In my running news, Peanut and I went to visit my parents in my hometown on Wednesday. I’d intended on using their treadmill, but it ended up being out of commission. I took to the streets (well, sidewalks) of my old neighborhood and did 2.5 miles in 28 minutes to complete C25k Week 8 Day 2. Obviously I’m still not fast, but my pace was a little quicker than it is when I’m pushing the stroller.

I’ve eaten mostly leftovers for the last few days so I didn’t take pictures. Tuesday night was a fun dinner. My husband got home early and we grilled out.

chicken & vegetable kabobs + foil-packet asparagus

I dumped all of mine into a bowl with some leftover brown rice and tossed it all in just a little bit of dijon mustard. I also added a couple of cherry tomatoes.

My husband loves BBQ sauce and received this as a gift recently:

Unfortunately, he wasn’t a fan. He said it had too bourbon-y. I found that funny because the sauce came from this place, a bourbon distillery. LOL I’m not a big BBQ sauce fan, but I did take a taste. All I could taste was vinegar.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend! I’ll be tweeting from my phone tonight during Food Revolution. 9 EST. Be there or be square. 🙂

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..with all the frills upon it
You’ll be the grandest lady
in the Easter parade.

That’s the song my grandma used to sing to us every Easter when my mom’s family got together for a massive Easter egg hunt. It was stuck in my head all day yesterday. I must say though, this little lady was the grandest:

I was so excited to share photos of the Easter dinner we hosted at our house, but I completely flaked on pictures (again) because I got so wrapped up in playing hostess. Our guests were my in-laws and sister-in-law. My parents were supposed to come, but my dad called earlier in the morning to say my mom had a rough night and was just too exhausted to make the trip. That put a bit of a damper on the day for me because I was looking forward to seeing them. We still had a delicious meal of ham, salad, potato casserole (a la my mother in law) and white chocolate amaretto cheesecake (a la my sister-in-law). The highlight of the day for me was sitting on the porch and soaking up the beautiful weather while drinking coffee and chatting.

Since I don’t have pictures to share, I decided to update y’all on some new eats (and drinks) I’ve tried recently. I purchased all three of these products on my own. I am not affiliated with any of the companies who make these products and I have not been paid or compensated for my reviews.

Barbara’s Bakery Chocolate Chip Snackimals

I really liked these. Crunchy and delicious. The cookie part reminded me more of a graham cracker than a traditional animal cracker. There was just the right amount of chocolate to get my fix without making them overly sweet. Their animal shapes are really fun and it made me feel like a kid again. The monkey was my favorite. 🙂 These cookies are vegan and I could pronounce everything on the ingredient list, although there were a few things that weren’t entirely natural. Each serving of 10 cookies is 120 calories, 4g of fat (no saturated, no trans), 0g cholesterol, 8g of sugar and 19g of carbs. Overall, a decent snack when you’re looking for something sweet. A little on the pricey side, but I’d buy them again if they were on sale.

Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling

My husband and I were searching for a riesling at Sam’s Club and this was the only one we could find. I’m not a big fan of overly sweet wines so I was nervous when the label said “Sweet Riesling.” I was pleasantly surprised. This wine was absolutely delicious. It’s sweet, but in a crisp way rather than a syrupy sweetness. The flavor is very fruity and refreshing. To top it all off, the price is very reasonable. We paid $8.99 and will absolutely be buying this again. The company’s website recommends this as a pairing for spicy foods. That sounds perfect to me, but so does just enjoying a bottle by itself in the evening. 🙂

Sam’s Club Member’s Mark Chicken Sausage (Spinach & Asiago)

First of all, I have to give a huge shoutout to Jenny from This Winding Road! I’ve been seeing these chicken sausages on her blog for sometime and they always look delicious. I commented on one of her posts about them and she was kind enough to e-mail me and let me know where she bought them and which varieties she preferred.

Thanks to her help, I decided to finally give them a try and I’m sooo glad that I did. My husband threw some on the grill for me last week while he was cooking brats for himself. Delicious! They’re full of flavor and a bit spicy, but not overpoweringly hot. Very, very juicy, but not at all greasy. While they taste great on their own, these sausages are also very versatile. So far I’ve tried them alone, in a wrap, in an omelette and in pasta sauce. They tasted great in every dish and I look forward to finding new ways to use them. This is a definite “buy again” and I’m looking forward to trying some of the other flavors.

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Tripled Up

Good morning, bloggies! Where have the last two days gone? Sorry to be PIA. Peanut has been anti-sleep and it’s been a looooong few night. My energy was at a 0 and I had to stay up and moving all day to keep myself awake. I did manage a bit of blog commenting, but if I didn’t hit you up that didn’t mean that I didn’t read and/or don’t love you. 🙂 Here’s a little catchup recap of the last two days:


Tuesday’s eats were unremarkable. It started off with a processed, packaged breakfast:

The convenience of these is definitely the star of the show rather than taste. They’re not awful, but they are a little chewy and a tad on the bland side. They’re fairly light on the calories which is nice, but I think I could make my own version with the exact same ingredients (whole wheat english muffin, egg white, slice of cheese, turkey sausage or other meat) and be just as satisfied and calorie conscious.

You know there was plenty of coffee. This is one of my favorite mugs. My friend and I went to one of those create-your-own pottery places a couple years ago and this was my creation. An artist I am not, but it was fun and I like the outcome.

Breakfast of champions!

I took advantage of the sunshine with a little jog. I ran the same route through town as last week and made it a little further in the same amount of time. I guess that’s progress, right? I have GOT to learn to relax my shoulders when I run, especially while pushing the stroller. My neck, upper back and triceps have been killing me and I know the tension is probably using unnecessary energy.

Dinner was almost a giant FAIL. In preparation, not in taste. We bought a pre-marinated portobello & cracked peppercorn pork loin at Sam’s Club on Saturday after tasting it at one of the sampling stations. The package directions said to wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and bake at “350 degrees for 20-30 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.” Okie dokie. I stuck my digital thermometer in there and set the display on the counter so I could monitor the progress. 90 minutes later we were at 91 degrees. After 2 hours, it read 104 degrees. So much for those cooking instructions. I was starving. Finally, 3 and a half hours after putting it in the oven, we hit 160 degrees. Luckily, it turned out to be worth the wait.

Roasted Yukon Gold potatoes on the side:

Togetherness! Notice the whole grain bread and husband-requested corn joining in the fun.


Sleepy mommy = lots and lots of coffee + no breakfast photos. It was PB&J on a sandwich thin. I think ya’ll know what that looks like.

It was a GLORIOUS day. The sun was shining and it was warm enough for a t-shirt! My head said run, but my knees and hips thought otherwise. I popped in a video from The Firm for a combo of cardio and strength moves. With all the squats, dips and lunges, I think I would have been better off to do the run. My quads were burning by the end.

My workout fired up my appetite so I fired up the stove for a quick and easy shrimp stir fry…

…and dined outdoors with my favorite lunch buddy.

Dinner was one of my favorite Weight Watchers recipes. I searched the blog and I don’t think I’ve ever posted these before.

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins


~1 lb. extra lean (93/7) ground turkey
~1 box (6oz.) Stove Top Stuffing (I use the reduced sodium chicken variety.)
~1 cup water
~2 egg whites


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands!!!

3. Press the mixture, in equal amounts, into all of the muffin cups.

4. Bake for 20-30, until the muffins are cooked through.

Served up with leftover roasted potatoes and a salad on the side.


No photos from Thursday. Part was because I didn’t eat anything new or exciting and part because I was pouting. I weighed in at Weight Watchers this week and was shocked to see a GAIN of .8 on the scale. I know it’s not a big gain, but that’s the second week in a row to see that size of a gain. The first week I expected it because I’d been busy and eaten like crap without any exercise. This week was different. I journaled all of my food, worked out consistently and had a decent calorie deficit on paper. I felt confident that I’d lose so that “+” next to the amount was a slap in the face.

I’m not going to let it get me down. This week I’m going to cut back on the processed foods and caffeine. I’m also going to up my water intake because that’s one area where I haven’t been as diligent as I should.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE! Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?

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In with the New

I had a great weekend, but it was none too exciting in the food department. I decided to use today’s post to share some new eats I’ve tried recently. These are all products that I purchased for myself.

Health Valley Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars

The base of the bar was crisp rice, kind of like a Rice Krispy treat, but less gooey and not nearly as sweet. The top was drizzled with chocolate and had mini chocolate chips. Overall I’d say it tasted okay. There was something about the texture that I didn’t particularly care for, almost stale maybe? The chocolate was really yummy and had a good taste so that made up for something. Looking at them I didn’t expect them to be very filling, but they were. The nutrition information wasn’t too bad: 110 calories, 2 grams of total fat and 1 gram of protein. However, I was a bit turned off by the 1 gram of saturated fat and 10 grams of sugar. I bought these on sale for $2.99/box. I think I’d buy them again on sale, but I wouldn’t be willing to pay the regular price.

O.N.E. Coconut Water

I have a think for little boxed drinks. I think it takes me back to my childhood. LOL I’ve always thought these looked interesting and decided to give them a try when I saw them on sale. The side of the box (and their website) had this to say:

O.N.E.™ Coconut Water is the water from inside the young green coconut. The water is extracted from the coconut at approximately seven months, before the meat grows. While the meat of the coconut (from which coconut milk and oils are extracted) is rich in fat and protein; O.N.E.™ Coconut Water has no fat. Our Coconut Water is naturally filtered through the dense fibers of the coconut creating a nutritious, pure, and refreshing isotonic beverage.

The website also bills coconut water as being full of electrolytes, a natural alternative to sports drinks, good for nursing mothers, and a drink able to improve skin, but the FAQ’s section includes a disclaimer that says none of these health claims have been reviewed or found to be true by the FDA or any other authority of the like. I bought the pineapple, pink guava and passion fruit flavors and thought they all had a great taste. They’re pretty sweet, but not syrupy and I thought they were very refreshing. The boxed packaging is convenient as is the fact that they do not have to be refrigerated, but I would suggest (as do the people at O.N.E.) that you drink them cold. I suppose you could drink them right out of the box, but a straw makes it much more convenient. Unfortunately, the boxes don’t come with those cute little straws so you’ll need to pack your own. I don’t think I’d keep a stock of these in the refrigerator at all times, but I’m definitely keeping them in mind for occasions that require packing portable beverages.

Clif Luna Blueberry Bliss Bar

I love all things blueberry. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to most artificial blueberry colors and flavors. Bummer. My grocery store just started carrying this flavor of Clif Luna bars. I tried not to get too excited about them before I read the ingredients. In true natural Clif fashion, I didn’t see anything on the ingredients list that I couldn’t read or easily identify. Score! I grabbed one to try and I’m happy to announce that I had no reaction at all. Oh, and did I mention it was delicious? It had a great texture, perfect blueberry-to-crisp ratio and just the right amount of sweetness. I picked up several more of this flavor and have added it to my list of flavors to buy when I stock up.

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These were the first words my husband uttered to me at 3:00AM as he was rolling out of bed.

First of all, is it really necessary to say anything at such an hour of the morning when the person you’re talking to has another good hour and a half of sleep ahead of her? I don’t think so, but I let it slide because at least it was something nice.

What he was smelling was Monday night’s supper that I popped in the crock pot Sunday night before I went to bed. When I got up, I spooned everything into a big Pyrex mixing bowl, covered it and popped it in the fridge. More details on that dish later.

Breakfast was a new-to-me breakfast treat. I spotted these Nature’s Path Organic Frosted Blueberry Toaster Pastries in the clearance bin during our grocery trip on Sunday and decided to give them a try.


I really like the taste of these. They are extremely sweet. Overall pretty similar in texture and flavor to a regular Pop Tart. They are vegetarian, contain whole grains, are low sodium and contain no trans fat. That said, the calorie content is a little on the high side (200 per pastry; 400 per pouch) and the total fat/saturated fat content isn’t significantly lower than the mainstream counterpart. Overall, I’d say these are a better alternative to many non-organic breakfast options, but by no means should it be considered “healthy.”


Lunch was again mooched from my parents. They had leftover chicken stir fry and rice from their Sunday night dinner. No picture, but it was loaded with veggies including zucchini from our garden that I’d taken to them last week.

I hit my daily sugar slump around 4:00 and decided to break out my last packed snack. I was FINALLY able to get my hands on this Luna bar flavor over the weekend after hearing so many bloggies rave about it’s goodness.


It was everything I’d hoped for and more. It tasted kind of like cookie dough. I can’t quite put my finger on which kind, though. Not chocolate chip or peanut butter. The bar refueled me and I was wide awake and alert for my drive home.

The same cannot be said for my navigator.


With the pork main dish waiting in the fridge, dinner was a cinch. I popped it in the microwave to reheat while I got to work on long grain rice and cornbread. Hello carbohydrate heaven!

I also sliced up two medium-sized zucchini, dipped them in egg whites, coated them with a mixture of breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, paprika and parsley flakes and then baked them on a greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.


The meal wasn’t very colorful, but it was tasty. I ended up passing on my cornbread because I was just too full from the pork, rice and zukes to eat another bite.


Do you ever do prep work ahead of time for your meals?

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