Category Archives: product review

Wanted: one guinea pig

I waited much too long to eat lunch and was ravenous by the time I headed for the fridge.

On the menu: leftover black bean burgers on half a whole wheat bun with tomatoes, Laughing Cow, and 1/2 a tomatoe + nuked roasted root veggies.  Yum!  Maybe it was because I was on the verge of starving, but this was muy excelente.

My meal was perfectly filling but I still had that empty filling when you’ve waited too long to eat.  I decided to give the Flavor & Fiber Lemon Ginger Bar a try.  This was my least favorite flavor so far.  It just didn’t do anything for me.  But, I think I have a prejudice against ginger.  I only like ginger in certain things and most always savory, not sweet, stuff.  I think it needs another persons opinion.

If you’re interested in trying my other one and you actually like ginger, let me know and I’ll hook you up with a free bar sample.  My stipulation is that you have to agree to do a little write-up for the blog.  Not really much of a give-away, I just want to be fair to the nice Gnu people who sent me these bars so I’m looking for an unbiased opinion.

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Filed under Lunch, product review

I put ketchup on my ketchup

I arrived home yesterday afternoon and scarfed down this Gnu Espresso Chip bar.  It was pretty good.  The espresso flavor was similar to that of the fiber one coffee flavored bar, but the texture is way different – soft, not chewy.  I much prefer this fiber bar version, if only for the texture alone, but also because I recognize the ingredients.

I also had a small ramekin of cereal and a few bites of my homemade granola.  I was seriously craving carbs.  Probably because I haven’t had enough today.  I stopped my carb craving before they got out of hand by getting to business.

I decided that it would be easier and faster to No More Trouble Zones than my previous workout plan.  I started out by chopping a bunch of root veggies to bake while I worked out.  I chopped parsnips, carrots, and a sweet potato and put them in the oven on 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

I cooked these for probably about 30-35 minutes and broiled them for 5-10 minutes.  They were almost dehydrated but I like root veggies all shriveled up and well roasted.

I also made black bean burgers.  My recipe on the fly had…

– 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans mashed with a pastry cutter (I prefer this to a food processor because I dirty less dishes and my beans don’t ever get too mashed)

– about 1/2 cup frozen roasted corn

– 1/2 large red bell pepper

– 1/2 medium red onion

-1/2 cup cooked brown rice

– 1 tsp. cumin

-~1/4 cup flax seed meal (ground flax seed)

– salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

I sauteed the corn, peppers, and onions, while the rice cooked.  I mashed the black beans, added the veggies, and stirred the mixture.  I then added the spices, stirring again.  I shaped into patties and cooked in an cast-iron skillet until well browned on both sides.

Serve with ketchup.  When you think you have enough, add a little more.

I totally need this t-shirt.  I saw it a couple of weekends ago in Charleston and thought it definitely applies to me.  After my addition to this meal, it is pretty much calling my name.

Is it too late to add to my wedding registry?

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Filed under Dinner, product review

Jammin’

All of last night’s eats were recorded, but never made it over to the blog.  Then in my frenzy this morning while trying unsuccessfully to be on time, I left my camera cord at home and my socks for running this afternoon.

So these photos are brought to you by the iPhone…not the new one…and not the one before that either…the iPhone three releases ago, which was freshly laundered in the washing machine about a year ago and still works.  Yet, I’ve managed to break two iPods in a 2 1/2 year period.   Go figure.

I’m going to skip ahead and share lunch and onward.  But this morning’s breakfast will definitely make it on here at some point, because it was just too darn pretty to go unmentioned.

Lunch was thrown together quickly by Brad.  I helped a little too.

Nothing you haven’t seen before.   Brie and jam on toast with carrots, celery, and humus on the side.

The money shot.  Has anyone else noticed that I’ve been eating jam 2-3 x a day?  I need to have a jam-free day because I think I’m overdoing it.  I just found jam on the side of my iPhone.  But you’ll be proud of me for restraining myself from licking my phone.   I scratched it off with my finger instead.

Even though I was extremely hungry after lunch, I tried another Flavor and Fiber bar.  This one was really orangey.   I love orange and this bar tasted like real oranges, not fake orange flavor.  The flavor is not subtle, so if you are on the fence about oranges, this is not for you.  I’m wondering if the orange flavor is from orange juice since it is “100% fruit juice sweetened”  but it has no Vitamin C.  Hmmmmm.

And just to continue with eating things I wanted, but wasn’t necessarily hungry for…

Strawberries.

I promise that I will eat and cook more interesting things, very soon.  There just hasn’t been enough time in my days lately.  Lucky for me I have a lot of interesting things coming up starting after work today

1.  Today – Blogger run/walk meetup

2. Tonight – Hanging out at Common Market to catch up with friends

3. Friday for lunch – Appetizer tasting for my wedding reception at Byron’s South End

4. Friday for dinner – Cooking for Brad, his mom, and grandmother Dinner at a favorite, Customshop, with my soon-to-be mother-in-law and grandma-in-law + Brad

5.  Saturday for lunch – My aunt is throwing me a bridal shower at Chantilly’s Tea Room! 🙂

6.  Saturday for dinner – It’s restaurant week in Charlotte!  We’re trying out Fiamma!

Happy Thursday!

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Filed under Lunch, product review, Snacks

Changes to come

I didn’t make it back to blogging yesterday to post late day eats, but you’ll know why in a second.

When I first got home, I thought I would blog a  bit, munch on this Gnu Foods Chocolate Brownie Bar, then do some 30 Day Shred.  Oh how things changed.

Gnu Foods recently asked me if they could send me some of their bars.  This is the first one I tried and I really liked it.  It reminded me of the brownie Clif Bars.  Very similar consistency and taste.  Plus with 12 grams of fiber and a non-scary ingredient list, it sure trumps other fiber bars.  I have several other flavors to try, but in true Kelly fashion, I went straight for the chocolate one first.  Notice Rascal in his standard “I’m going to stare you down while you eat” pose.

Then, I don’t know what happened.  The longer I sat there attempting to blog, the sadder I became.  I don’t want to just blog about my food.  I want to blog about my life.  But so far my day was not worth blogging about.  I have been struggling with some things in my life recently and have been uncertain as to what to do about them.  I feel like Brad, my family, and my friends have been supportive, but I can’t look to them for answers.  I have to figure out what to do about this  on my own.

Brad and I talked a long time about this.  I think we have come to some decisions and I’m trying to make peace with these decisions.  At the same time, I’m still mulling it over uncertain as to what I will do next.  But I feel like some changes are coming one way or another.

In the middle of our heavy discussion, we found time for dinner.  I browned some corn tortillas for us (in a skillet using my meat mallet to press the tortillas to make them brown faster).  I added the last of our Denver Sole from last night.  There wasn’t enough for two people, so we split it and added black beans, topped with mango salsa from last night as well, and a generous dollop of Greek yogurt.  There was no wrapping these fish tacos; I had to use a fork and knife to get this to my mouth.

Added later:  I don’t know how I forgot this, but before going to bed I had quite a bit of dark chocolate, which was totally necessary.  I don’t feel guilty of this one bit.  Chocolate heals all.

This morning I woke up thinking, “Can I make overnight oats with cottage cheese, instead of yogurt?”  Well yes, you can.

All of my bananas are in the freezer so I took one out and microwaved it.  Frozen bananas that have thawed have the weirdest consistency.  It feels kind of spongy but can very easily be whipped into whatever your adding it.  No banana chunks when you use this process.

Next I added my usual ratios of 1/3 cup of oatmeal (still working on the gluten-free oats), 1/3 cup of almond milk, but instead of yogurt I added 1/3 cup of cottage cheese this time.

Toppings were frozen blubes I nuked in the microwave making them super juicy, 1/2 Tbsp. blueberry jelly, and 1 Tbsp. AB.

This was good but I didn’t care for the consistency.  Whether it was the juice from the blueberries or the cottage cheese, which isn’t quite as thick as Greek yogurt, it was too liquid-y.  I want to make this again, because I really liked the flavor and the bit of saltiness cottage cheese adds to the mix.  However, next time I’m going to cut back on the almond milk and try it without the blueberry juice to see if that helps.  Maybe fresh fruit would be better?

I get brownie points this morning for managing to get ready so fast I had time for breakfast at a table, rather than on my lap in the car (which ultimately finds its way onto my clothes).  I figured out a new strategy to cutting my time spent getting ready…rolling my hair.

I always shy away from this because 1- my hair doesn’t hold curl very well and 2- I’m afraid of having big Southern hair (at least temporarily).  However, these two ladies (Lara and Andrea) often hot roll their hair and they look lovely, so I was inspired to give it a try.

After brushing it so I looked a little less like Shirley Temple, I thought it looked okay.  And yes my fuchsia decorations are necessary, but no, the grimace on my face is not.

I’m curious to see what this looks like at 5 pm.

Maybe I’ll have a more lighthearted post then about something outrageously silly.    I’m sure Rascal or Brad can handle that assignment since they are both well-versed in outrageous silliness. 🙂

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, product review, Thoughts

Odwalla Bars

Odwalla Bars are one of my little splurges I often indulge in when I find myself at Earth Fare.  A love the consistency of their bars, which is similar to a chewy cookie.  As good as they are, I never somehow seem to get outside of my comfort zone with them, always sticking to the same flavors each time; usually the chocolate flavors.

Recently I received a shipment of bars from Odwalla, most of which were not the chocolate flavors, so I got to sample some of their other varieties, which I thought was pretty sweet.

Odwalla is predominately a juice company.  I’m honestly not really a juice kinda girl.  I’ll drink a little bit here and there, but usually don’t buy juice, although I’m dying to make some of my own in the Vitamix.  Why haven’t I done that already? Anyway, Odwalla’s products are made with a mixture of organic and non-organic products.  You can find out what percentage of each bar is organic on their website and on their labels (if that’s important to you), but from what I’ve seen, most bars are about 20-35% organic.

The first one I tried was the Super Protein.  From the others I’ve tried, it is a bit chewier than the other bars and the taste of protein is definitely present, but not really in a bad way.  This bar has less organic ingredients than the others (20%), but has 14 grams of  protein.  It tastes kind of like an oatmeal cookie.

One of my favorite bars is the Chocolate Chip Peanut.- My favorite and one I have tried before.  I’m a sucker for chocolate every time.  I love the crunch that the chips and nuts add to this version.

The Banana Nut is somewhere between a cookie and banana nut bread.  It was so yummy and tasted way too much like dessert; a heartier banana bread.  Although I’m partial to the chocolate varieties, this is one I would definitely buy.

If I had to choose between berry and other more dessert-type flavors, I probably wouldn’t buy the Berry’s GoMega before trying it.  But, I really liked it.  It had the same chewiness as the others but had a lot of dried berries which added some sweetness.   This bar is rich in vegetarian omega-3’s.



The Strawberry Pomegranate went un-photographed, but I liked it just as I liked the Berries GoMega.  The real difference in the two besides the slightly different taste, is the vegetarian Omega-3’s in the berry.

All of the Odwalla bars have  a lot of vitamins (mainly A,C, and E) and antioxidants.  Their list of ingredients is a bit long, but that is often the case with bars that taste really great.  I try not to rely on bars as a major source of food in my diet so I think that in moderation, Odwalla bars, and other bars like them, are perfectly fine.  There have been weeks when I have looked back on my eating and thought, “geez, I ate a lot of bars this week”.  So, as someone who is making a concerted effort to eat mostly whole foods, I would buy these bars and will continue to (and enjoy them!), but I wouldn’t eat them everyday.  That’s just my personal preference, but you’ve got to do what works for you.

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Ever heard of Kombucha?

Well I hadn’t, until I started reading blogs.  Some people really love the stuff, so I thought maybe I should try it out as well.  So, whenever I go to Earth Fare for some shopping I have been grabbing a bottle here and there to try.  Kombucha is a fermented Chinese tea.  I’m not sure how it is consumed in China, but here in the States, it is served cold and often flavored.

At the Earth Fare in Charlotte where I  shop, the brand of Kombucha with the most variety of flavors is made by Millennium.  They make GT’s Organic Kombucha and Synergy Kombucha.  The only real difference between the two are that the GT’s version is 100% Kombucha (plus natural flavors) and the Synergy version is 95% Kombucha and 5% fruit juice.

The first time I tried Kombucha, I immediately liked it.  There is definitely a lingering taste that is somewhat different, but all that I have tried taste really great.  I especially love that its naturally effervescent because I’m a recovering Diet Dr. Pepper addict and I love me some fizz. No, seriously, my mom asked me one time if I would like an IV of Diet Dr. Pepper so it would go directly to my blood stream.  She was kidding, but I did drink it A LOT at one point.

I was excited to try more flavors when Millennium offered to send me coupons to tree five flavors for free.  One of the downfalls of Kombucha is that its muy expensivo (for me anway).  It’s usually between $3.50-$4.00, but I have seen it as much as $5.00 as smaller specialty stores.

I tried each of these and really liked them all a lot.  My favorite was the Raspberry Rush (2nd from the right), but my real favorite is the first one I ever tried, which was grape.  The Original even tasted really great and refreshing, even though it wasn’t flavored.  The Trilogy tastes really strongly of ginger so if you love ginger, you’ll love it as well.

I have no idea if the health claims for Kombucha are really valid, but I like drinking them and will probably continue to pick them up when it’s convenient for me, but enjoy them as a treat and not a daily thing (because of the price).

While stopping in Raleigh for the Whole Foods salad bar last weekend, I thought about picking up a Kombucha for the road.  There was absolutely none to be found!  So, I stopped a WF employee to inquire about it and she told me that the Kombucha made by Millineum had to be taken off the shelves so it could be relabeled.  If you look closely at the current label of Kombucha, it states that trace amounts of alcohol can be found in the tea because of the fermentation process.

It turns out that although Kombucha is tested for alcohol content before it leaves the packaging location, it is possible that the alcohol level increases from the point of transportation to consumption.  This note to consumers can be found on the Millennium website.

NOTE TO CONSUMERS:

We are investigating reports of the potential for slightly elevated alcohol levels in our Kombucha products that may be occurring after the product has been bottled and has left our facility. Although our products are tested to be compliant at the time of shipping, a subsequent increase in alcohol levels could potentially cause the product to go above 0.5% causing potential labeling issues. We are working quickly to identify the possible causes and which lot codes and/or regions are being potentially affected.

Please keep in mind that this is not related to any type of food contamination and is not a recall. We are trying our best to have product back on the shelves of every store as soon as possible. In the meantime you can check the store locator featured on our website for further information on retailer options in your area. We suggest you call ahead to make sure they still have product available. We apologize for the inconvenience of this matter and greatly appreciate your patience and support while we resolve it.

I definitely do not think that this is any cause for alarm.  This is a fairly new food product, so there are possibly a couple of things that need to be sorted out to make sure it is labeled properly.  I still plan to drink Kombucha periodically (although maybe not at work).

If you want to know more about the Synergy Kombucha products, you should check out their website.  Their story about the start the company is pretty interesting and can be found on their About Us page.

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Review: Greek God’s Greek Yogurt

I first tried Greek Gods Greek Yogurt and consequently full-fat Greek yogurt on a whim.  It was on sale at Earth Fare and I grabbed it the 16 oz. container hurriedly as the store was closing.  I really loved the taste of full-fat Greek yogurt and have been buying mostly 2% fat Greek yogurt to strike a healthy medium.

I was really excited when the Greek Gods company sent me coupons to try five of their flavors for free.

First up, I tried the Vanilla Orange Reduced Fat Greek Yogurt.  It was still very creamy for reduced fat and I really loved the flavor.  I have never tried orange flavored yogurt before,  but I’m a big fan of oranges so this was a winner for me.  (Vanilla Orange Greek Yogurt Nutrition Facts)

Next up was the Fig Greek Yogurt.  I really thought that this one was going to be my favorite  because I adore figs.  The fig flavor is on the bottom so you have to stir it in with the vanilla yogurt if you want the fig yogurt experience and not a fig jelly experience at the end.  I like this flavor but not as much as I thought I would.  This one only comes in full-fat. (Fig Greek Yogurt Nutrition Facts)

Honey was the next flavor I tried.  I really liked this flavor because I eat more honey than a bear.  This flavor is full-fat, if that’s your thing.  (Honey Greek Yogurt Nutrition Facts)

As much as I like yogurt with a little fat in it for the creaminess factor, I did choose to try the Non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt.  To be honest, this flavor was just okay.  It might taste just like every other Non-fat Greek yogurt, but since I’ve gotten  used to the 2% and full fat over the past few weeks, this flavor tasted like plain non-Greek yogurt to me.  It was still good with some strawberries.  Rather than top my yogurt with berries, I topped my berries with yogurt. 🙂 (Plain Non-fat Greek Yogurt Nutrition Facts)

The Pomegranate Greek Yogurt just my be my favorite in terms of flavor.  It’s rich and creamy and does not come in reduced fat.  I tried this one the first time I purchased Greek God’s Greek Yogurt so I was happy to “try” it again.

Overall, I really like the flavor of the Greek Gods Greek Yogurt, well maybe except for the non-fat plain.  That being said, there are a few things I am curious about.  For one, like I stated in a recent post about Greek yogurt, this particular brand has significantly less protein than some of the other well-known varieties like Chobani and Fage.  There is also quite a bit of sugar in the flavored yogurt.  Pomegranate has the least of the flavored varieties with 16 grams, while Vanilla Orange has the most with 23 grams. The Plain (not shown here but really delicious) has the least with 5 grams in a 6 oz. serving.

Another positive thing about the Greek Gods brand is that they all are gluten-free, including the flavored varieties.     Most plain yogurt are gluten-free, but flavored yogurt often are not, so this is definitely a plus if you have a sensitivity for gluten.  I don’t abstain from gluten but a lot of people do so it’s nice to know which brand is officially gluten-free.

I really appreciate the Greek Gods company for giving me the opportunity to try out their yogurt.   I’m always looking for a good deal, so I don’t have any real loyalties when it comes to Greek yogurt brand.  I will definitely purchase them again, but will probably stick to the plain for the most part and only choose the flavored when I need a treat.  I typically prefer plain yogurt because half the fun is adding it to other things or using fun toppings.

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