Posts Tagged ‘product review

06
Jan
11

Tofu Timidity

I am far from timid when it comes to using firm tofu.  In fact, I WISH I had one of these puppies so that I had an excuse to cook it more often.  I did pick up something new this afternoon, however.

I haven’t done anything with silken tofu before, but after this morning’s hour-long cardio session, I really wanted a thick, refreshing smoothie and I have seen many a blogger smoothie made with tofu.  It was my time and I think I did purty darn good!

Tropical Tofu Treat

50 g silken firm tofu
1/2 C frozen pineapple chunks
1 clementine, peeled and sectioned
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp guar gum
splash of sugar free vanilla syrup
4-5 ice cubes
 
Throw in a blender and blend the heck out of it until thick and smooth.  Bottoms up!

I knew it wouldn’t quite fill me up for lunch so I also indulged in 1/2 pint of Arctic Zero Chocolate Peanut Butter.  Tried this stuff yet?  It’s deeeelicious and doesn’t provoke guilt when I eat the whole thing.  I questioned the actual nutritional content (and emailed the company) because the numbers didn’t quite add up when I calculated the amount of carb, fat and protein grams and how many calories each gram produces.  Their response is right on the website:

“Looking at the previous pints of Arctic Zero (ie. 128 and 136 calorie pints), one had to ask whether the calorie count was off. How did one serving of a pint of “Chocolate” provide 32 calories per serving when it had 11 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein? Shouldn’t it have been 60 calories?

We would get the standard 4 calories per gram nutrition question several times per day (I was one of those questions). Per the FDA requiring us to do so, we had to list total carbs on the label regardless of whether they had an impact. In addition to our proprietary ingredients, we also utilized the patented Whey Low sweetener that had been on the market for more than a decade. Whey Low contains 75% fewer calories than traditional sugar, and because only 25% is absorbed by the body and it has a 70-80% lower glycemic index to boot.”

I haven’t read too much on Whey Low, but I intend to.  It almost sounds too good to be true because it sure is yummy!   How can they prove how much is absorbed and processed? I’d love any info if anyone has experience with Whey Low sweetener.  So far, I’ve tried this flavor, Chocolate and Cookies N’ Cream.  I prefer the C N’ C, but it’s harder to find.  I really want to get ahold of the Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla Maple flavors.

Today turned into an unplanned meat-free day and I feel great!  I had apple-cinnamon custard oats and yogurt for breakfast and dinner and am currently munching on a giant bowl of hot popcorn with salt and garlic powder. These meat-free days are going to be far easier for me than for Steve, but that’s ok.  I am definitely ready to experiment in the kitchen.  And even if he never caves to those whims… Well, more tofu for me!

 

11
Oct
10

Change it up!

I sure wish those Braves would have changed it up sooner.  Then perhaps they wouldn’t be preparing to make this Bobby Cox’s last game.. (Currently bottom of the 8th; down by 1 run)

I’m glad I changed it up in the breakfast department.

2% Plain Greek Yogurt + Strawberries + Chocolate Cheerios

I would usually grab the Nonfat yogurt before the 2%, but this was so much richer and yummier – with very little difference in fat content.

I am proud to be able to acknowledge that I need to change it up in the work department.  I may have to make a sacrifice, but I know that it will be in support of my husband and the future family that we want to have together. 

I found some amazing ways to change it up in my grocery cart this week!  For a while, I have been a devoted fan of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze.  Who knew Joe was holding out on me?

 

SO much better than Almond Breeze (but dear AB, you are still delicious).  TJ’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk was creamier and had a slightly stronger vanilla flavor.  That wasn’t my only new change-up from TJ’s.

Enter the jerky..

Oh my, my, my..  Jack Link’s lost the battle.  Hands down!  This stuff isn’t overly smoky, has a perfect level of saltiness and travels well – which explains the work desk picture. 

So we’ve got food changes, possible work changes.  All that’s left is to change it up at the gym.  I got a fun present in the mail to help me do that, courtesy of Paperback Swap.  (PS, I LOVE this site almost as much as the book that it afforded me)

I know that Janetha and Mama Pea have both had awesome success in BFL.  I am pretty sure that I am not meant to lose more weight, but I am still slightly dissatisfied with the tone in my body.  I zoomed through the book in about 2 hours and have implemented the program into my cardio and one round of weight training (concentrating on chest).  The goal for this week is to take “before” pictures and begin recording my BFL progress.

I can’t wait to see how my body reacts to how I have changed it up!

Have you changed it up recently?  I’d love to hear about it!

28
Mar
10

bikini season

It’s coming.  It’s coming very, very quickly.  Need proof?

Look at those beautiful blooms on the trees leading into our neighborhood.  It makes me smile on my way to work and not much can make me do that!  Soon enough, the petals will be gone, the leaves will return and summer will be here. 

In preparation, my Fitness Rx magazine Bikini Body workout continues.  I had to take a couple of days off this week thanks to a head cold, but I returned full force yesterday with an insane step workout and shoulder/back workout.  Today I did the lower-body circuit listed in the magazine.  I do not have high hopes for my muscles tomorrow.  They will likely be screaming!

I made a stop at the Organic Food Depot after the gym to pick up a few things, including this new find:

Light, crunch, airy and totally yummy!  I slathered one with a little bit of PB2 (chocolate variety, of course) and found dessert heaven!

My post-workout thirst overcame me by the time I checked out, so I picked up something that these other bloggers have raved about – Kombucha. 

 Not gonna lie.. I was disgusted as soon as I opened the bottle.  The smell was so off-putting, but I took a swig anyway.  I had to hold the gag back!  It reminded me of overly-fermented apple juice mixed with truly rotten beer.  It probably doesn’t help that I’ve had a bad apple juice experience as a child which resulted in food poisoning.  It may be healthy and it may be supported by many bloggers.  I am not, and probably never will be, one of them.  Maybe I started with the wrong variety.  Any suggestions from those that have found a Kombucha variety that doesn’t taste anything like my description?

I received an awesome package in the mail on Friday that brightened my day!  I won my first giveaway from Gina over at Simply Life and look what showed up in my mailbox ready for a plethora of applications –

This is actually the very first all-natural nut butter that I will be trying (I don’t count Smuckers variety) so I am super excited.  You’re the best, Gina!!  Thank you so much!  I think some good, old-fashioned PB toast tomorrow will be the first taste!  I’d love some suggestions on baking recipes that include PB & Chocolate!

My tummy is a-rumbling so it’s lunchtime!  On today’s menu: Tofu Shirataki noodles + spinach + Morningstar Meal Starter Crumbles.  A fave!

Time to dig in!!

On a side note, it might not be conducive to prepping for bikini season, but I bet it’s so yummy – Lori is giving away some authentic maple syrup (non of those icky chemicals/preservatives involved!).  Go check it out and enter to win!

22
Mar
10

stirring up sunday

Why must the weekends end so soon after beginning?  It just is not fair!  I would love to petition for 4-day work weeks and 3-day weekends.  Who’s with me?!

At least a good weekend ended on a high note – stir fry!  I always feel so good and healthified after eating a dinner of (mostly) veggies and lean protein.  Tonight, I threw in some Tofu Shirataki noodles – spot on!  They taste and feel absolutely nothing like traditional pasta (so don’t be surprised by this if you give them a whirl) and are packaged in water, but they satisfy my need for something pasta/rice-like to go with all those veggies and chicken.  I have found that cooking them in the stir fry rather than just throwing the mix on top makes them taste a bit better, plus it takes away some of the extra water that 20 minutes of draining just can’t do.  It will be the new cooking method of choice for these noodles.

Here’s tonight’s stirred-up concoction:

Chicken breast + broccoli + bell pepper + onion + baby corn + straw mushrooms + shirataki noodles.  All seasoned with a bit of low sodium soy sauce, garlic powder and chicken broth.  Healthy = Tasty! 

We noshed while we watched the new series, Life, on Discover HD.  If you have time, watch this or DVR it.  It’s spectacular to admire God’s handiwork at such unique angles!

As I said, this really was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend.  Yesterday, we were blessed with blue skies and 70-degree temps, so the hubby and I visited the Virginia Aquarium for a few hours.  The layout of the Aquarium is really nice.  It’s actually in 2 separate buildings with a wooded trail between them.  A few highlights –

 

 

 

Yes, the croc is very real (he looked faked) and the river otters were enough to entertain us for a very long time.  It was an unbelievably wonderful day.  The best part?  I succeeded in completing a MARCH GOAL – new activities with my love.  I feel so accomplished.

We finished the day by going to see Green Zone with Matt Damon.  It was quite a compelling movie.  We both loved it and I certainly admire Matt’s acting abilities.  He can go from geeky and quirky (ie Ocean’s Eleven and The Informant) to inspirational and thought-provoking (ie Invictus and The Rainmaker).  That boy has skills! Just looking at his resume, I think there is only one big ticket movie that he was in that I have not seen and that was Stuck on You.  If memory serves me correctly, that one flopped anyway.

Yesterday was not quite as exciting (except for that awesome dinner).   I spent most of it working 2 first-round NCAA women’s basketball games.  Sadly, UConn humiliated Southern and JMU couldn’t quite hold their own against Temple.  Except for ODU, I always root for the underdogs and they both lost yesterday.  I was only slightly saddened at JMU’s loss, since they went to the dance while my Lady Monarchs did not.  The men were impressive – they made it through the first round by defeating the 6th seeded Notre Dame, but lost to 3rd seed Baylor in round 2.  They played well after the first few minutes and I’m a proud alumna!

On to more exciting things – workouts.  I’m still working on Muscle & Fitness Hers Bikini Body Shape Up and did the upper body weight circuit again today.  It’s a toughie – my shoulders always burn, but I feel incredibly invigorated by the end of my session.  You can see the full workout here.   I added small amounts of weight to each exercise, warmed up with 20 minutes of elliptical at an average HR of 150 and cooled down with another 20 minutes of elliptical with an average HR of 140.  Total time = 1 hr. 30 mins.  Total cals = 911 and 50% fat. 

I was famished for this when I got home:

It was so exciting to use FRESH strawberries today instead of frozen.  You know summer is getting closer when the fresh berries hit the sale racks at the store.  Farewell citrus.  Hello happy berries!

I feel as if, after that bowl, I now have a brick in my belly.  Is it bad to want a nap at 9:30 am?!  I am going to beg the energy gods for some of their blessings and can get through some errands and tonight’s work shift.  Until later!

19
Mar
10

fresh eats

I’m a Subway fan, don’t get me wrong.  Something about the smell of that bread wafting through the air just makes me a bit happier. The funny thing about that is that I NEVER end up getting a sub.  I always have the chicken and spinach salad and I always order it the same way.  Unfortunately, 1 item in my order (yes, we order by drive-thru) always gets left out while hubby’s sandwich is always made perfectly.  How do such tragedies occur?  Tonight, my salad lacked tomatoes.  That may be a good thing, though, since tomatoes are not yet in season.

Tomatoes or not, it was a wonderfully fresh conclusion to a day full of sunshine and singing birds.  Spring has arrived a day early!  It permitted me to do a little tidying up on the deck and sitting on the porch with a cup of hot tea and my new Everyday Food magazine.  When those tomatoes finally do come into season, I can’t wait to try out a roasted plum tomato recipe.  It’s for an 8-lb. batch of tomatoes to use for multiple recipes.

I enjoyed a day off today and it was SO needed after 2 full days of training in Fredericksburg.  My brain – stuffed to the brim with info – needed to decompress.  I ran a few errands with the windows down and the car heater in the off position.  Yay!  I had purchased some new kicks up in F’burg because silly me remembered all of my gym attire except shoes!  I used them twice for approximately 1 hour each time and promptly returned them today as I have no need for new shoes.  Am I going to hell for this?  Probably.  I also returned an Adidas bag that I had purchased at TJ Maxx (aka Shopper’s Paradise), but this product went unused. 

Post-returns, I ventured on to find a store that I recently found on the internet – The Organic Food Depot.  I could not believe all of the amazing products they have in such a small store!

It was far too easy to lighten my wallet in this store, but I exercised pretty good self-control and did most of the shopping with my eyeballs.  My one bag contained –

I was able to pick up a couple of items that I have seen on other blogs including a bottle of Steaz, a jar of Crofter’s North American Superfruit and a Vita Coco.  I also snatched up some McCabe’s Granola on sale and some freeze-dried Yogavive apple chips in various flavors.  First up?  The Yogavive chips in peach flavor crumbled and mixed with Oikos and a couple of drops of Stevia.  The result?  Sheer genius (but not like the awful hair-cutting show). It had just a subtle peach flavor.  I’m still baffled at how they can get one whole apple to be only 35 calories!

Tonight’s trial?  The Steaz.  Check out the cap! 

Yes, dear Steaz, I am happy to be guzzling you down with my delicious popcorn.  You are the perfect raspberry thirst-quencher and you give me all the benefits from your green tea.

Up next?  I’ll be indulging in Vita Coco before my morning work out, then I’m planning on adding a bit of the Crofter’s to my custard oats OR McCabe’s to my morning Oikos.  The nutritionals are impressive –

Pretty low sugar for granola, no?  I’m bound and determined to find some of that Galaxy Granola, though.  It’s popped up a few times, but I have yet to find it here.  No worries, though.  That granola will be mine!  Mwahahaha!!

Alright, enough, I know.   That Vita Coco won’t be drank (or is it “drunk”?) if I have no energy to even get to the gym.  Good Friday night, all and good luck to my buddies running this weekend’s Shamrock Half or Marathon!  I’m sending you happy running vibes!

21
Feb
10

Germy Mess

I am a big ball of mucus and, for that reason, I am annoyed.  I don’t mean to be icky, but colds are just the worst, aren’t they?!  It’s a type of sickness where you still feel the need to get things accomplished but all you want to do is lay around and be useless.

So what’s a girl today in such a state of ickiness?  Search for comfort, of course!

There’s comfort in a bowl of custard oats with plump raspberries and blueberries:

There’s comfort in serving it alongside Greek Yogurt and granola: 

 

I am, by the way, loving this granola.  The banana and maple flavor is perfectly intense and it stays crunchy for a long time (so when I pack it for dinner and eat it 6 hours later, it still rocks my world)!  PLUS, the blueberries and bananas get perfectly soft. Check out these facts:

(source)

Upon making my second bowl of oats today, hubby wondered why I would consider 2 servings of oatmeal in 1 day.  “Well,” I replied, “it warms my tummy and that makes me feel better.” Do you find that breakfast makes you feel better?

My lunch was a second bowl of oats and were of the steel-cut variety. I topped these with sugar-free strawberry preserves.  Hit the spot!  I really like the TJ’s quick cooking brand.  They were uber creamy when I added a couple of egg whites!

Last night, at the onset of yucky feelings, I relied on breakfast for dinner for a bit of comfort.  Enter an egg white scramble with spinach and Morningstart Meal Starter Crumbles.  This was insanely delicious!

It isn’t much to look at but oh my..  I can’t wait to try this again!

I found a little more comfort in a good cup of hot chocolate this afternoon made with this bit of cocoa goodness:

And what is more comforting than a giant bowl of hot soup?  Even in my lazy state, I was able to throw a bunch of stuff into a crock pot and pray for tastiness.  The result was a Tex-Mex Chicken Soup that we both devoured and still had plenty left over!

Tex Mex Chicken Soup

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 cups (1 box) low-sodium chicken broth

1 can black beans (Trader Joe’s!), drained and rinsed

1 can of whole kernel corn (Trader Joe’s – it stayed super crispy!), drained and rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes

1 small onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1-2 Tbsp. salt

Throw the ingredients in the pot.  Set on low for 6-8 hours.  After 3 hours, shred the cooked chicken and add back to the pot.  Serve with tortilla chips or shredded cheese (optional).  Love at first bite!

What do you find comfort in when you don’t feel well?  Luckily, I didn’t have to work today and was able to spend time with my  hubby – that’s the best comfort of all!

PS:  Do you like Fiber One?  I’m such a sucker for an Oats and Chocolate bar for a sweet treat.  Head over to Simply Life and check out this amazing giveaway! 

18
Feb
10

Dear winter, please go.

I am now a devotee of early morning workouts.  I am not, however, a fan of the frigid temperatures that await me as I walk out of my front door.  I believe this has been the coldest winter that we have experienced in Hampton Roads in a very long time.  It’s cold.  It’s uncomfortable. And it’s just plain icky!

Luckily, it did not slow my momentum.  I’ve had really great workouts the past 4 days.  Let’s rewind, shall we?

Monday – Leg Day + 30 minutes HIIT elliptical and 15 minutes of steady-state elliptical

Exercise Weight Sets Reps
1. Leg Press 90# 1 10
  110# 1 10
  140# 1 10
2. Calf Press 90# 1 20
  110# 1 20
  140# 1 20
3. Dumbell Boxing 8# DBs   30 seconds
4. Side Lunges 15# DBs 3 5/leg
5. Front Lunges with Kick 15# DBs 3 5/leg
6. Jog     2 laps (1/5 mile)
7. Leg Extension 75# 3 10
8. Reverse Leg Curl 70# 2 10
  75# 1 10

Tuesday – find it here 

Wednesday – Back & Bi Day + 45 minutes of HIIT elliptical and 10 minutes of steady-state biking

Exercise Weight Sets Reps
1. High Row 60# 2 10
  70# 1 10
2. DB Cross Curl 10# DBs 1 12/arm
  12# DBs 2 12/arm
3. Rear-Kick Jog   3 2 laps (1/5 mile)
4. Back Extension on Ball Body 3 15
5. Incline DB Curl on Ball 12# DBs 3 12
6. Jump Squats   3 15
7. Kneeling Bench Row 30# 3 8/arm
8. 21’s 10# 3 21..duh
9. High Knees   3 30 seconds

I had some SERIOUS issues during this workout.  During my first set of kneeling bench rows, I pulled my left trap.  I have never had pain that strong in my shoulder – so much that it radiated down my entire arm and lasted a good 2 minutes.  It was like having a charlie horse in the arm.. ugh!  Once it subsided and I stretched a bit, I continued and felt ok for the rest of the day.  It’s pretty sore now though!

Thursday – Chest & Tri Day + 65 minutes of steady-state elliptical (avg HR = 144) and 15 minutes of steady-state crosstrainer elliptical (avg HR = 127)

Exercise Weight Sets Reps
1. DB Chest Press 20# DBs 1 10
  25# DBs (woot!) 2 10
2. High- Pulley Overhead Cable Tricep Extension 40# 1 10
  45# 1 10
  50# 1 10
3. High Knees   3 30 secs.
4. Incline DB Chest Press 15#  3 10
5. Bench Dips Body 3 8
6. Jump Plie Squats   3 15

Not gonna lie.. the weight-lifting was sorely lacking today, but after 65 minutes of cardio, I didn’t have much strength left in me for the weights.  I’m sure I’ll make up for it tomorrow! 

I’ve been a bit lazy with the food pictures.  It’s been pretty monotonous due to work, but I FINALLY remembered to capture my favorite meal at my favorite breakfast joint, The Broken Egg in Chesapeake.  Yes, I did eat part of my breakfast yesterday when I finally remembered that my camera was nearby, but it was heavenly –

Blueberry pancakes (no butter + sugar free syrup) and fresh fruit.  They never do me wrong!

They also serve Tazo teas so I had a Zen green tea to go along side my yummy jumpstart!

After work last night, I wanted a snack that wasn’t popcorn (shocker, I know!).  I am really trying to incorporate some protein if I need a snack at night, so I ventured into the world of custard-ish oats.  I cooked 1/2 C in the microwave with a bit of water.  About halfway through the cooking, I added 2 squirts of Egg Whites Int. (about 2.5 whites), and some frozen berries and finished cooking.  What I got was a HUGE bowl of oats that were super yummy!

My oats somehow don’t look as pretty as my fave bloggers, but I’m sure they tasted just as good!  Breakfast food for snacks just feels so right.

This morning, I returned to a more traditional breakfast. 

Egg Whites + spinach, 1/2 Sun Dried Tomato Flatout with Laughing Cow + fruit.  I love this combo and it keeps me full for several hours on only about 350-400 calories (depending on how much fruit I have).  Yes!

And now – a new snack to go with my hot cocoa and then it’s off to work!  Gotta tell ya, I really like this Kashi Crunchy Chocolate Caramel Bar, and it’s stats.  Maybe because it’s got whole pieces of popcorn in it..  maybe.

Work calls!




Hi Ya’ll!

Hiya! I'm Heidi, a 28-year-old "retired" student living in Virginia. I am a newlywed and currently on the hunt for a full-time job that will use either my Biology or Secondary Education degree. In the meantime, I work in retail and at an event venue part-time. When I'm not working, I love to kill hours at the gym, scrapbook, and act as a domesticated diva to keep my hubby happy!