REVIEW: Halo Top Cookie Dough Ice Cream

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Halo Top. I had heard many different opinions on this ice cream and so I had to try it for myself!

As a disclaimer, I don’t necessarily like the idea behind “this is low calorie/sugar free/not guilty so I can go ahead and eat the entire pint” I plan to do a post about that mindset in the near future, in the meantime, I believe moderation is key whether you are talking Talenti, Halo Top, or broccoli….

But I digress, let us get back onto this review.

I was skeptical to say the least of trying this ice cream, would it taste artificial? umpleasant? I was unsure what to expect.

In any event, I certainly did not expect to open up the container to find that their was open space between the ice cream itself and the sides of the container. I did contact Halo Top to see if this is normal, hopefully they will get back to me soon…when they do I will do a follow up post about Halo Top including complete nutrition/ingredient facts.

For now this is about taste and texture as I am posting from my smart phone.

It tasted like ice cream, it was delicious, albeit a bit sweet…no artificial flavor at all. The cookie dough pieces were the perfect texture and I highly recommend this as a good ice cream NOT an ice cream substitute.

As for the consistency, it was a bit closer to sherbet than ice cream. I am assuming that is because of the low fat content, but it was still very tasty.

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I would eat this again for sure and look forward to trying more flavors…

Nutrition and ingredients to be continued…

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Little Thoughts

I must really apologize for my lack of inactivity. Especially being that this is such a new blog, I definitely need to be adding some more posts.

Though I do have quite a few more recipes that I want to share, I do not like the pictures that I have for my current recipes. Before adding more recipes, I want better quality photos, so until then, my blog will mostly feature reviews and nutrition advice/tips.

I would have been working on better photos (I am no photographer) but between online classes, final exams, and stomach bugs…I have been in no mood for pictures, or any food for that matter…

Friday night I was exhausted, in the middle of the night I awoke with a horrible feeling of nausea and ad I made my way to the bathroom I hoped I wasn’t going to be sick. Well, “hoping” doesn’t always go as planned. I won’t get too graphic but I was in bed all day on Saturday and Sunday, barely able to eat more than toast and eggs.

Stomach bugs (or noroviruses) are not something that I frequently get, over the past ten years I have only had one stomach bug and two cases of food poisoning (thankfully) but for some reason, this time was a little different. I seriously cannot eat anything without feeling sick to my stomach, which brings me to this thought…what is health?

I like to adhere to a healthy diet, eating fruits and vegetables every day, avoiding refined grains, sugars, and all the other “bad” foods. But throughout my illness, the only foods I have been able to tolerate are not foods that I personally deem healthy as every day food…the foods that I see as nourishing and ‘safe’ only create in me a horrible nauseous feeling; so repulsed I do not even want to smell those foods.

Of course, that didn’t answer my question, but it is something to think about. Right now, fruit, vegetables, yogurt, tuna, chicken, (I can go on…) are not foods that I can eat. I like them, they are good for me, I am not allergic, and most are considered “superfoods” but they do not help me in my present condition. Instead my diet is now consisting of white wheat bread (this is different from white refined bread I will do a post on it soon) , honey, graham crackers, and ginger ale–from Trader Joe’s. Not a diet that is particularly nutritious, too me it looks more like a little kids diet when they get what they want (i.e. chicken nuggets and mac & cheese)

When I can go back to a greater variety I will definitely be thankful, but I also realize that sometimes our culture gets too wrapped up in what is “good” for us that we do not see the bigger picture. Not to be too morbid but ultimately, as human beings, we all will die, no matter the food we eat, we cannot extend our life into infinity. I can eat all the organic, non-gmo superfoods I possibly can, but they won’t save me from death in the end. Yet, our souls will live on. If it is our souls that will live forever, not our bodies, would not it be wiser to nourish our souls rather than our bodies?

In so doing, the thing that will live forever will be well-nourished to the best of its ability. Our body is the temple of the Lord’s and we should treat it as such by having proper nourishment, exercise, etc. but more so should we seek to nourish our souls with the best nutrition we possibly can, the Word of God.

This is something that I can feast on regardless of my stomach bug!

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week and were able to understand my rig-ama-role.

 

Blessings,

Leah

Recipe: Gluten Free Carrot Mini Muffins

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Mini carrot muffins. These are the perfect little muffins for your day. They are gluten free, dairy free, and simply delicious!

My mother is always trying new ways to get my brother to eat more vegetables and fruit and these mini muffins are the perfect way to do it.

Most carrot muffin recipes include grated carrot…but instead we pureed these in our vitamix to hide the carrot texture for my little brother. Of course, you can always add some freshly grated carrot on top if you want a more traditional texture

INGREDIENTS:

 

  • 5 Large carrots
  • 1/2tsp Baking powder
  • 1 cup Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/2 cup Oat Flour
  • 3/4 cup Raw Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/3 cup Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

It looks like a lot of ingredients…and a lot of work. But it really is not that hard in the least. It is all the spices that you add that make it look so intense.

RECIPE:

  1. It is easiest to start off with the carrots. Place your peeled carrots in a Vitamix, Nutri-bullet, Blender etc. and start blending. Add the avocado oil to help create a creamy texture. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl add all of your dry ingredients along with the spices stir slightly. Make sure to measure your flours lightly (don’t pack it down hard) otherwise your muffins will end up too dense and flavorless.
  3. Whisk your eggs and vanilla in a bowl and add the dry ingredients to it.
  4. Add your carrot mix to everything else.
  5. Voila! That is all the mixing that you need to do…now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  6. We used a 48 mini muffin tin from A.C.Moore that makes 1.5″ muffins. They are really cute. But feel free to use any size muffin pan that you want.
  7. Make sure to put muffin papers in your muffin tin…or else these muffins will not come out…just trust me on this one…
  8. Put your mini muffins in the oven and let cook until done, only about twenty-five minutes. They cook fast. Let cool before enjoying.

As you can see from the above picture we added walnuts to some of them…and raisins…and kept some plain…

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Try any toppings that you think would be good. My family and I also made a molasses cream cheese icing to top them. I will be showing that recipe soon as well as it was absolutely delicious and so very easy.

Or just keep them plain…

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(As you can see, these were the disaster muffins because I did not place the papers down..they still tasted good.)

NUTRITION FACTS

For 1 of 48 mini muffins:

  • CALORIES: 47
  • calories from fat: 15
  • TOTAL FAT 1.7 g
  • saturated fat 0.3 g
  • CHOLESTEROL: 12 mg
  • SODIUM: 9 mg
  • POTASSIUM: 20 mg
  • CARBS:4.4 g
  • FIBER 0.2 g
  • SUGAR: 0.3 g
  • PROTEIN: 0.5 g

Vitamin A 22% Vitamin C 1% Iron 1%

ENJOY!

 

Review: Beyond Meat Grilled Chicken

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I tried this a few weeks ago but never got around to reviewing it. I have been so busy with my Criminology, Algebra, and Anatomy college courses that there has been no time for blogging…or much of anything else for that matter!

Beyond Meat sent me complimentary coupons to review their product so I shall get to it.

I have to say that I was quite excited to try this “grilled chik’n.” I am not vegetarian, though my diet contains a lot of fruit and vegetables, yet this product looked intriguing to me. Vegetables with the filling flavor of protein…sounds interesting to me.

First, before I go to the flavor, I will discuss the nutritional facts of this product:

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I did not realize the ingredients of the product until I reached my house. It is not like me to not read labels…hence my brother naming me the “food police” After reading all those ingredients, despite the non-GMO label, I proceeded to try it only because I felt obligated to the company to do so. Not to mention, although I have heard so much about Beyond Meat, I have yet to find reviews on this product from actual consumers.

Curiosity killed the cat!

It looks to me that nearly all of these ingredients are made by people in white coats…and no, they do not wear large hats (a.k.a. chef hat).

The nutrition label is not too bad. It has plenty of protein, calcium, iron, no sugar, no cholesterol, moderate sodium….it is all those ingredients that bug me.

  • Chicken flavor? Obviously because this product is vegan, it has nothing to do with real chicken.
  • Soy protein isolate, yeast extract, maltodextrin…possible hidden MSG

Would I buy this again? Probably not. What if I were vegan? I have no intention of going vegan anytime soon (I love greek yogurt way to much) but that would boil down to the flavor…

Second part… the flavor. The strips reminded me of fingers with brown stripes when I took them out of the package. I stuck them in the microwave for a few seconds and they smelt horrible…I don’t know how to describe it, just horrible.  A little repulsed, I proceeded to make chicken salad out of these rubbery fingers–I mean strips.

I took the first bite and almost gagged. The texture was all wrong. It was not like chicken, I felt as if I was biting into dense rubber. The flavor was odd, it was not necessarily flavorless, it was just a little sickening. Thankfully, I only cooked a serving and was able to swallow it–the bread and mayo helped mask the flavor, just not the texture.

I don’t recommend anyone try this product. It was just gross. It is a cool concept if it could be perfected, but now I understand why I have failed to find reviews on it. Before trying the chicken, I was considering attempting the beyond burgers, but I am not even interested in those anymore.  I find it hard to believe many people actually enjoying this, instead I would think that people assume that it is healthier than chicken and so eat this instead.

My advice? Go for chicken. Yes, it may have more fat and cholesterol, but at least it is natural!

I thank Beyond Meat for sending me coupons and hope that they will take into consideration possible reformulating this product to have less lab ingredients and more real ingredients. Also, to improve upon that texture and flavor-less-ness .

 

 

Review: Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter

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After trying the Larabar Coconut Cashew Spread from Costco (possibly a future review) I was eager to try this peanut butter. The girls at Wild Friends were kind enough to send me two free coupons to try their products!

Despite reading on the back the ‘No refrigeration necessary’ section, I proceeded to put my nut butter in the fridge with all my other “natural butters.” Opening the container the next day…it was rock solid. Uh oh, I thought, this does not look good. The coconut oil had separated from the rest of the mix and solidified on the top, talk about disappointment… sorry, I forgot to snap a photo….

I let it sit on the counter as I sliced an apple, grabbed a spoon and tried to dig in. As I stirred the solid mass began to soften and after a few minutes I was able to mix the coconut oil back in to the rest of the jar, lesson learned–shake your jar of wild friends before putting it in the fridge.

Enough with my rig-a-ma-role, you want to know how this tastes, right?

Pros:  It tastes delicious. It tasted just like a thick Reese’s peanut butter cup, slightly salty and slightly sweet, despite the layer of coconut oil at the top, the coconut flavor was undetectable in the actual butter. If you love peanut butter, if you love dark chocolate, you will love this spread, it is absolutely delicious. So far I have had it three times via. apple scoops and a spoon; but I can easily imagine this on toast as a Nutella-like replacement or on a graham cracker, or on ice-cream, carrots, spinach…go right ahead if you wish, bacon(?) seriously–I have heard of chocolate covered bacon…

So this taste’s delicious, but what about the nutritional stats?

Wild Friends is on the left and Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter is on the right.

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Very similar to normal peanut butter…it has a bit more fat, sodium, and carb per gram…but not much. The fat from nut butter is good for you anyway, so don’t fear the fat. It has a bit less protein; for me this is okay because I don’t really count nut butters as “high protein” foods…many people do, but they have a higher fat and general equal or more carbs relative to the protein levels.

Sugar. Comparing it with the Kirkland, I assume that Wild Friends has about three grams of added sugar per serving (or 42 grams of added sugar per jar)…but, it also contains more iron, thank you dark chocolate.

In essence, it pretty much gives you as much nutrition as normal peanut butter…

What about the ingredients?

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Yes, it is hard to see…

Ingredients: Roasted Peanuts, Coconut, Organic Agave, Unsweetened Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt.

Controversial ingredients:

The only one I can find here would be the agave. It is not something that I regularly want to consume in my diet. I have yet to find conclusive evidence telling me it is harmful to you or that it is good either, so I generally have honey, maple syrup, or raw sugar instead. Too much sugar, regardless of “benefits” is not good for anyone to consume.  In the case of this spread…their is not enough agave to be concerned about it unless I am eating excess of two servings at a time.

My second problem that I have with this spread is that it is actually peanut butter. Peanuts are one of the crops that contains major pesticides and is a genetically modified organism. Wild Friends holds that their products are Non-GMO verified, but peanuts can still grow the toxic Aflatoxin mold. In other words, I generally am not a big peanut butter eater. I eat sunflower butter, tahini, and other nut butters, but generally avoid peanut…

CONCLUSION:
The flavor of this spread is delicious, I also found it to be very filling even though nut butter does not generally fill me up (maybe it is the slight bitterness of dark chocolate). The nutritional stats are basically the same as regular peanut butter and it does not contain hydrogenated oils which is a plus.

Would I buy it again?

I think so. I really like to have store bought chocolate nut spread around the house in case I am unable to make my own…but the price is a bit high for me at $6.00 per jar…so I would not make it a regular…

Should you try it?

As long as you do not have any nut or peanut  allergies, yes! It is a delicious treat.

Thank you Wild Friends.

 

*All opinions are my own and are not sponsored in any way.

 

Oat-y Apple Pear Bake

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It is officially apple season. Apple sauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple oatmeal, and don’t forget apple pie!

The other day I was in the mood to bake. I had two problems: my indecisiveness of never knowing quite what to try and make, and the lack of ingredients that I had on hand. Grabbing a bowl, some measuring cups, an apple–I didn’t want to use all the (two) apples I had, I had to save some for the rest of my family–a few other miscellaneous ingredients and set to work. After popping it into the oven I heaved a sigh of relief, hoping that it would at least be somewhat edible…

This was the result. A delicious apple pie bake. It is fairly low in sugar, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free, vegan, and completely edible.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Apple (I used Fuji)
  • 1 Pear
  • 2 Dried Dates
  • 2 tbsp Tahini Butter
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup Raw Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Oat Bran
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Avocado Oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop your apple, pear, and dates and add 1 tbsp tahini, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon and mix well.
  3. Place all remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.
  4. In an 8×8 pan place your apple mixture and sprinkle your oat mix on top, slightly stirring it. Feel free to add more cinnamon or even pumpkin pie spice, I did.
  5. Place into oven a bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and the apples on the sides look a little dry and crispy. You can stir occasionally but keep the crumbs on top.

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Eat it with ice cream a’la mode or a dollop of Greek yogurt. Warm it up for an easy breakfast, or eat it like granola for a quick snack. It is so universal and easy to make and makes a great addition to all the other apple recipes of the season.

 

NUTRITION FACTS: SERVES 8
Serving Size 1/2 cup                Per Serving                        % Daily Value*

Calories                                            154

Calories from Fat                              27

Total Fat                                             3.0g                                           5%

Saturated Fat                                     0.5g                                            3%

Sodium                                              2mg                                            0%

Potassium                                          83mg                                          2%

Carbohydrates                                  29.4g                                          10%

Dietary Fiber                                      3.1g                                              12%

Sugars                                                   5.5g

Protein                                                 2.6g

Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 2% · Iron 5%

 

Review: Chobani Pumpkin Yogurt

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I was so eager to “dig-in” that I forgot to take a picture before opening it. Since opening this one, my mother and I consumed ten of them in less than a week…she only had three.

The flavor has that traditional tang of Greek yogurt with the perfect creamy texture of Chobani. They definitely did not disappoint me in this flavor.

So, what is this flavor? It is just pumpkin-y enough to be called pumpkin. Pumpkin lovers will love it and even non-pumpkin eaters could probably tolerate it. A light cinnamon and nutmeg essence is in every bite, but it is in no way overwhelming.

Taking another bite it reminds me so much of pumpkin cheesecake that I can’t put it down. The sweetness (not overly sweet), tang, creamy texture, and maybe even the two percent milk used…it is pumpkin cheesecake in a cup! Okay, I will relent a little and say that it is not one hundred percent pumpkin cheesecake, but it comes really close to it,

I freeze my yogurts for about an hour…to give them a creamier texture, I highly recommend doing that with this one.

Enough with flavor, what about the ingredients and nutrition stats?

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Right, here it is. Plenty of bacteria to show it is yogurt. It does have real pumpkin puree as the third ingredient, which is pretty good compared to most “pumpkin” products on the market. That is also why it has 8% Vitamin A, from the pumpkin. It is a bit high in sugar, (most flavored yogurts are)  I am pretty sure about half of those are added. Chobani plain has 4 grams of sugar, pumpkin probably adds about a gram but I am not quite sure.  It may claim 40% less sugar than regular yogurt…but honestly, regular yogurt is PLAIN yogurt with about a third of the sugar…

Protein count is high. Yes it has 2.5 grams of fat…but it is good fat. https://draxe.com/the-truth-about-saturated-fat/. I recommend this article if you still believe fat is harmful to your health. Although I do not agree with everything on his website, Dr. Axe definitely has some interesting articles on his website and I recommend reading through some of them if nutrition interests you.

Back to Chobani. It tastes delicious…definitely 10 smiles…especially frozen and consumed as a dessert it easily makes it to those 10 smiles!

*My Disclaimer. I do not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions are entirely my own.

Review: Organic Valley Cream Cheese Spread

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Finally, what everyone has been waiting for. The first review on this blog.

 

I am hoping to at least do a food review once a week, if anyone has any suggestions on foods that they would like me to review please let me know.

Okay, let’s get started!

After receiving vendor coupons from Organic Valley (‘How to get coupons for food’ post coming soon!) I decided to try the cream cheese spread.

The nutritional value is pretty similar to the top cream cheese brand, Philadelphia, which I will be comparing this product to.

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According to the Kraft website, the cream cheese spread contains 80 calories per two tablespoons and a little less fat, but it also has no calcium or vitamin A. So, nutritionally speaking, Organic Valley already seems to be a bit superior.

Ingredient wise, again they are about the same, it is only cream cheese after all.

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Organic Valley has locust bean gum instead of carob bean gum. I am not sure what the difference between the two are, if anyone knows please leave a comment. Otherwise, I will have to research it myself and let you know. The other (rather obvious) difference between the two is that Organic Valley is of course organic, Philadelphia is not. Buying dairy products organically is often recommended due to the increased hormones in ordinary cow milk. For something like cream cheese, I don’t know if I really eat enough of it to bother…but then again if I can afford something organic I prefer to go with the organic option.

Next step…opening up the lid and taking a scoop…

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(Sorry for the low quality picture, I was really hungry and couldn’t wait to take a better one.)

It looks really creamy and soft, but when I dug my knife in it felt very firm; it spread just like Philadelphia brand on my British Raisin Muffin (from Trader Joe’s, no picture of that either, remember I was hungry) but it definitely has a much more yellow ‘complexion’ than its well known competitor.

Taste test, after sprinkling sugar and cinnamon roasted pecans on my muffin I took a bite. It is definitely cream cheese, the texture is so smooth and, well, creamy. The flavor is a little more muted than I am used to from the Philadelphia version, it is not bad but not as tangy in my opinion. For a free product it is really, really good. For a product I would have to purchase…yes, I think I could buy this instead of Philadelphia, although I am tempted to add a little bit of greek yogurt, or even lemon juice, to give it a tang.

If you prefer a less tangy/flavorful cream cheese, I highly recommend this one. If you are in love with the Philadelphia cream cheese flavor, and expecting it in Organic Valley, you may be a little disappointed.

I am still trying to figure out how I am going to rate products, stars and spoons have all seemed to be used countless times…

In the meantime I will just say that this is a really good cream cheese that I definitely recommend.

9 Smiles out of 10?

*Despite receiving my free vendor coupon, all opinions are entirely my own. I am not paid for this review nor do I receive  compensation of any sort. In short, all reviews are my honest opinion.

 

 

 

Cozy Apple Oatmeal

2016-07-20 08.34.00.jpgYes, the summer is going by so quickly I don’t want this weather to end!

But lately I have been  waking up with a desire to eat something warm, sweet, and cozy so I created this quick, healthy breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Oatmeal
  • 1 Fuji Apple
  • 1tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 packet Nature in the Raw Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt(optional)

Directions:

  1. Chop the apple up into small, bite size chunks. You can use any type of apple but I love the sweet crispness of Fuji with the oats
  2. Add the water and oats and the salt if you want. I know, I know, it seems like a lot of water but it makes the oats extra creamy and porridge like, just try it! Feel free to use milk of choice but be aware that the nutritional difference will change!
  3. Cook on low for about 2o minutes. On minute twenty one and twenty two turn up the pot until it boils, stirring vigorously so that it does not stick to the pot.
  4. Turn off and let sit for a few seconds. It will be very hot.
  5. Scoop into your breakfast bowl and add your cinnamon and sugar. You can use any sugar but raw is my favorite. It is not refined and has a delicious crunch.

Nutrition facts for entire recipe:

CALORIES: 250.     Cal from fat: 26

TOTAL FAT: 2.9.                       5%

SODIUM:  596MG.                   25%

POTASSIUM: 311mg.                 9%

CARBOHYDRATE: 54.3.           18%

FIBER: 7.7g.                                 31%

SUGAR: 21.9g.

PROTEIN: 5.8g

Vitamin C 19%   Calcium 3%  Iron 13%

 

Enjoy!