Sunday, March 31, 2013

Trader Joe’s Cast Off the Licorice Lines – Strawberry

I purchase these for my boyfriend.  He is a self proclaimed lover of licorice.  Twizzlers are one of his favorite candies – so while at Trader Joe’s I noticed they had a strawberry licorice and it was 99 cents for a pretty large package, so I grabbed one.  He opened it that night and said it was the best licorice he’s ever had because it’s a true strawberry flavor.  Needless to say, since that trip (almost 3-months ago) it’s been a staple purchase every time I have gone to Trader Joe’s.

Taste wise?  They are definitely a true strawberry flavor – it’s not a chemically driven strawberry.  But when comparing to Twizzlers it’s not the same thing.  Twizzlers also have this, almost filmly oil taste that is left on your tongue.  You do not get that with these Trader Joe’s licorice.  They’re not really hard, they’re a softer licorice but not soft-soft … I guess middle of the road in softness?  They’re definitely not gonna break your tooth BUT they’re also not mushy.  A serving size is 4 pieces, which in Weight Watcher’s Points Plus points will cost you 3 ppv.

I’m not sure if these are going to be a staple item at Trader Joe’s or if they’re a limited edition product.  TJ’s tends to bring products in for a limited time – so I can’t say for sure if this is one of them.  If they are, or if they aren’t, and you can get your hands on them – I highly suggest them, especially if you’re a licorice lover.  They’re yummy!

Skinny Cow Peanut Butter Crème Filled Chocolates



I spotted these Skinny Cow Peanut Butter Crème filled chocolates while at Dollar Tree.  I had purchased the caramel filled chocolates but had yet to try them.  But considering I am a sucker for anything peanut butter candy related I had to purchase them – and I am glad I did!  I’m a sucker for peanut butter cups, but sometimes the points plus associated with them isn’t too appealing.

The package comes with 3 thinner peanut butter filled chocolate crème candies.  The candy is a nice, smooth milk chocolate with a thin filling of peanut butter in the middle of them.  It’s nice, smooth and creamy.  The greatest part is each pack is only 130 calories – 4 points plus.  BUT if you wanted to eat 1 it’s 1 points plus, 2 is 2 points plus and the 3 is four points plus.  Quite a yummy treat.t!  This would be great to bring to the movie theater for your chocolate fix!

Food Find: Walden Farms Sesame Ginger Calorie Free Dressing



While grocery shopping I somehow stumbled upon the dressings in the pre-bagged salad section.  I can’t say I was even in the section to pick anything up, I stopped in front of the section, noticed the salad dressings and picked up the bottle.  I’m a big ginger lover and the sesame ginger flavor seemed intriguing.  I don’t particularly like sweeter dressings with my salads since I typically mix meats and random condiments into my salads that a sweeter dressing can be a bit overpowering.

I looked over the ingredients and it had soy sauce, ginger, etc., in it.  The dressing itself looked like it wasn’t totally runny so I figured I’d give it a shot … and I have to say I am REALLY glad I did!  It’s perfect on a tossed salad and it’s even good on a grilled chicken salad.  I’ve enjoyed this flavor so much that I’ve put some salad into pita bread, added some of this dressing and enjoyed.  It’s quite delicious and for 0 calories?  It makes it even better!

Boiled Dinner



St. Patrick’s Day came and went and my boyfriend and I did not have our boiled dinner. We were supposed to have dinner with his mom but a family emergency came up and dinner was called off.  I typically make a boiled dinner at least once or twice a year because I just really love corned beef.  My local wholesale club sells a lean corned beef eye round all year round and I really enjoy it because there’s not a whole lot of fat and it’s very low in Points Plus values (3 to be exact for 4 ounces).

I invited my brother and sister-in-law over for dinner and off and cooking I went bright and early in the morning.  I covered my corned beef in water and set it on to boil.  Once the water began to boil, I dropped the head down to medium-low and let it simmer away for 4 hours.  After that I dropped in my baby carrots (2 pounds worth), some peeled white potatoes and the largest head of cabbage ever cut into quarters.  I covered it and let it cook until all the veggies were done.

It was totally delicious!  I ate mine with a drizzle of white vinegar over the vegetables, a spritz of spray butter on the potatoes and a tiny bit of mustard alongside the corned beef.  Totally delicious!  I ate it for dinner and lunch two days in a row and was not complaining about that what-so-ever!  It’s a great meal – takes a while to cook, but was worth the points.

Whole plate points plus: 6.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My most memorable NSV's (Non-Scale Victories)


  • Being able to walk up and down the stairs, repeatedly, without gasping for air
  • Being able to sit in a restaurant booth and swivel chair (that are connected to a table) comfortably WITH room to spare
  • Went from a 5X shirt down to a Large
  • Went from a 30/32 pair of jeans down to a 12
  • Donated ALL clothing that is not in my current size to family or charity
  • Is able to make it through a 50 minute gym class without sneaking out early
  • A stranger at the RMV, when renewing my license said, “Great job sweetheart, you look amazing!” after seeing my license photo and me in front of her
  • I no longer completely shun doctors because I’m ashamed of my size
  • My doctor is no longer “mad” at me when I show up for physicals
  • Being able to shop at ANY store I want because I can fit into non-plus sized clothing
  • Blossoming into a positive AND happier person
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies



This past week I decided I wanted to do a little baking and Spice Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies were on the menu!

I wanted to make these the week prior, but time just didn’t allow so I went ahead and whipped these up over the weekend and boy, oh boy, were they delicious!  Not only were they delicious, but they were so simple to make.  It involved opening packages and a can, dumping the contents into a bowl and measuring out chocolate chips and walnuts.  Easy as pie.

The Points Plus values do vary depending on the amount of cookies you make so your individual recipe would have to be thrown into Weight Watchers Recipe Builder to uncover the points plus value per serving.  I ended up making 68 cookies and it made each cookie 1 points plus value each.

These cookies are softer cookies – but they are heavenly.

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 can 100% pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • ~1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Blend spice cake mix. Pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin together until evenly combined and there are no bumps left.  Add in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips and fold until combined.

Using a melon baller, teaspoon or the tip of a tablespoon drop cookies onto a non-stick cookie sheet.  Note: the cookies don’t really rise or spread so having them close together (but not touching) on the pan will not affect the end result.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for roughly 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cooking times vary oven to oven, so it may take up to 15 minutes to bake.

Last but not least – enjoy!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

VitaPizza – Meatless Pepperoni Supreme

Firstly, I want to say I had been looking for these VitaPizzas forEVER! Incase you’re not aware – VitaTop makes VitaPizza while they also make I want to say VitaWich.  Basically VitaTops are a healthier alternative to a muffin top and brownies, VitaPizza is a healthier swing on a personal pizza and VitaWich is a healthier alternative on breakfast sandwiches.  I’ve had VitaTops and I’m not a huge lover of them – but I do find their corn muffin top if my fav (since I love corn muffin anything).  VitaWiches were meh, not my thing … so all that was left was VitaPizza.  I spotted this at my local Shaws Supermarket (and recently just spotted it at Stop & Shop for SO much cheaper that I picked another one up).

As a lover of pizza – and all kinds, I will say this does the job of providing you a healthier alternative to pizza for less calories and Weight Watchers Pointsplus values BUT it’s not the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten.  I did cook mine a little longer than recommended to crisp up the crust a lot more.  It’s a little blander tasting, so I did add some garlic powder and sriracha to my pizza which boosted up the flavoring and made it a lot more palatable BUT it is very filling.

For 5 points plus I feel you can’t go wrong.  I mean is it something I would purposefully hunt down again? Probably not – but when I know it may be a tough week and I’m going to WANT pizza it may be nice to have in the freezer – hence why I bought another one.

QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Vita products?

My $2 Life is Good Nalgene Water Bottle

This was a perfect and rather unsuspecting haul.  I received a $10 certificate from a local store, Bob's because I have a store rewards card with them and they typically send you a $10 certificate twice a year, plus one for your birthday.  I typically go in there when I get these (even when I don't get the certificates) to get my sneakers, sandals and typically some sort of attire.  I have a new pair of sneakers in the closet and I didn't need another pair of sandals so I decided to pick up this pretty pink with heart accent Life is Good Nalgene water bottle.  The bottle itself holds 32 ounces of water, which is fabulous since I typically only buy water bottles that can hold at a minimum 28 ounces of water.  I originally was going to pick up a camel back bottle BUT I am not a fan of bottles that have straws because since my bottles ALWAYS have water in them, I find straws rust out on me rather quickly.  So with this not having a straw, I don't have to worry about that happening!

QUESTION:
What is your favorite brand of water container?

Brownie Brittle – Traditional Walnut

Brownie Brittle is this little creation I stumbled upon almost a year ago.  My local grocery store has been selling the chocolate chip variety for probably, at least a year and I had been hooked from the moment I tried it.  On the back of the package the Sheila G brand advertised a walnut and toffee version and I had never been able to find it until a number of weeks ago.  I was shopping at The Christmas Tree Shop and stumbled upon both the walnut AND toffee variety!  They both made a home in my carriage until I got to check-out.

Firstly, let me say Brownie Brittle is a life altering experience (haha).  No, really it is.  Whoever thought to take brownie batter and to make it into a thin, crisp layer to imitate a crisp cookie is a genius and I want to give them a hug.  You get that nice chocolate flavor you get from brownies, but it’s very crispy and crunchy.  The walnuts give it a nice woodsy flavoring which adds a little more crunch.  They’re a perfect snack and totally delicious.  And the greatest part?  6 pieces is a serving.  So it takes something that’s sinful (a brownie) and makes it into this genius little serving where you feel like you’re having more than you should for a very limited amount of calories. Genius!

If you’re a brownie fan or even a crispy cookie fan I would suggest getting your hands on these.  They’re 3 points plus values for a serving.

QUESTION:
Have you ever had brownie brittle?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Roasted Potatoes, Chicken Sausage and Peppers

Two weeks ago I went ahead and tried out a Skinnytaste recipe I had printed out after a recommendation and decided to try it out.  I’ve had sausage with potatoes and peppers a million times before – but most of those times were pre-Weight Watchers.  Typically when I make roasted sausages with peppers and onions in the oven, I eliminate the potato and just cook everything up in the oven until done.  I have to say, adding the potato made it seem like it was a dish that was “bad for you” which made it so much better!

I weighed out and measured all the ingredients needed for the dish and was quite surprised at how MUCH there was in the pan and how little servings there were.  The entire pan was to be separated out into four servings.  Four GIGANTIC servings might I add.  It was so delicious that I will be making this again.  It cooked up so quickly in the oven.  Next time I’m going to switch out the sausage for a different flavoring to change it up a bit (the original was delicious but I know I have a few other sausage flavorings in the freezer).

I followed the recipe (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/10/roasted-potatoes-chicken-sausage-and.html) as described except I eliminated the rosemary since I didn’t have any so I substituted for minced garlic (along with the powder garlic) and some oregano.  I love changing things up to my liking ;).  The ¼ of the serving was 8 Points Plus.

Overall two thumbs up.  Totally worth making again!  This would even be good to save half a serving to go along with some eggs in the morning!

QUESTION:
Have you ever made a Skinnytaste recipe?

Crystal Light Liquid - Mango Passionfruit Drink Mix



Considering I drink so much water, I have become a huge lover of Crystal Light.  Water is fabulous for you but it can be rather plain – plus by throwing a packet of Crystal Light in my water I feel as though I am having a treat.  Pre-Weight Watchers I enjoyed my juice and punches once in a while, so this is a nice “ode to juice” if you will.

When I saw that Crystal Light had come out with a liquid version of their sweetener I originally passed up on it.  I haven’t been the biggest fan of some of the liquid water flavorings that have come out.  But since I have such great faith in Crystal Light I decided to pick up the Mango Passionfruit flavor.

I do find you need to add more than the recommended squirts to obtain a decent flavoring – especially if you’re drinking 30 ounces of water at a time like I am.  I can’t handle that moderately flavored water – it makes me want to gag.  But I find by throwing a few extra squirts in, it really boosts the flavor and makes it delicious.  The mango passionfruit flavor is totally delicious.  Once I finish the bottle I do plan on picking up another to have for when I want it.

QUESTION:
Have you tried the new Crystal Light liquid drink mixes?

Trader Joe’s Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

I have become a lover of Trader Joe’s and with that I allow myself to be adventurous and try new things.  I primarily stick to the things that are Weight Watcher’s Point friendly for me.  There are some things I’d like to try but I’m just not into the nutritional information enough to splurge.  Every time I shop at Trader Joe’s I find myself bringing home 2-3 (or more…) new things that  haven’t tried before to test out.

During my last shopping trip these Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages were on my list.  I ended up putting them in the freezer because I wasn’t sure when I wanted to make them – that was until this week when I decided I wanted breakfast for dinner.

These chicken sausages have a really low point value (3 ppv) for a sausage and they are a pretty decent size.  I’ve had pork apple sausages before and I really enjoyed them – but would never repurchase now that I follow WW because I would seriously cringe at the points.  I find with my weight loss journey there are some things that are worth the splurge, while others just aren’t worth it for me.  So for the things that aren’t worth it – I find substitutes and I am happy to say this is an excellent substitute!

The sausages are definitely a sweet apple flavor – so I’d suggest pairing them up with breakfast items (eggs, pancakes, waffles, etc.) or if you’re adventurous pair them up with a dinner item.  They are precooked so they only have to brown up until the internal temperature is over 150F.  I did find since these are sweet, the natural sugars in them come out while cooking so they want to “burn” in the pan – but it’s really the sugars crystallizing.  I ended up adding some water into the pan to keep my kitchen from potentially getting smoky.

Overall – 2 thumbs up.  Even my picky eater boyfriend really enjoyed these!

QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the sausages at Trader Joe's?


Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips



These Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread potato chips are one of the last limited edition flavors offered by Lays as part of their “Vote to Save your Fave” campaign which originally began by regular potato chip lovers to submit a flavor of potato chip that they’d love were on the market.  I purchased all 3 bags (Sriracha, Chicken and Waffles and Cheesy Garlic Bread).  I opened the Sriracha first, then the Chicken and Waffles and saved the Cheesy Garlic Bread for last because I had high hopes.  But unfortunately it wasn’t as spectacular as I had dreamed it up in my mind.  I LOVE cheese and I absolutely love garlic (I put it in everything).  Unfortunately the flavor was a bit subdued for my liking.  It wasn’t as cheesy or as garlicy as I would have imagined it would be.  It tastes decent, but it’s not as power packing as I had wished for.  The cheesy eliminate takes a bit of a backseat while the garlic is evident, but it’s not a bold garlic – it’s a very mild flavor on your palette.  They are good – but I think the Sriracha flavor is ultimately the BEST and I hope it wins because I’d like to have those as a side to a plain jane sandwich any day!

Points Plus wise a serving will cost you 4 PPV.

QUSTION:
Have you tried any of the Lay’s limited edition potato chip flavors?

Archer Farms Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage

While shopping at Target last week I spotted the Archer Farms Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage in the refrigerator section in a display case.  Since joining Weight Watchers I have happily switched out pork sausages for chicken and turkey sausage (depending on the nutritional information – some I completely bypass).  I figured out the points for it and was completely surprised to find they were only 2 pointsplus for one sausage, 4 pointsplus for two.

They don’t have a casing on them so they cook up quickly and there is no worrying about the sausages cracking in the pan in a casing.  They are precooked so I believe the package said you could heat them in the microwave or you could pan fry them – which is the method I chose.

Flavor wise they are definitely delicious.  I love garlic sausages and there is a definite garlic flavor to them while spinach is bland in itself, but that’s expected because spinach doesn’t have a strong flavor normally.  Overall 2 thumbs up!

QUESTION:
Have you ever tried the Archer Farms Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage?


Friday, March 22, 2013

Pizza in a Pan



After trying a cheeseburger casserole last week I got to thinking what could I do with the remaining pasta I had leftover to make a delicious, simple dish.  Well, pizza is my utmost favorite food so that sent my mind into over drive.  Typically when ordering pizza I like to get a loaded veggie pizza – but my boyfriend only eats pepperoni pizza so we typically settle for pepperoni pizza so we don’t have to buy TWO pizzas, which is craziness.

I pulled up my handy dandy Weight Watchers recipe builder and started adding ingredients I’d want in this dish and was surprised to see how point friendly it was.  I jotted down the 2 ingredients I didn’t have at home to pick up at the market and off and running I went.  The great thing about this dish is you can really prepare the meat sauce beforehand – whether it be the day before or even a few hours before whipping together.  Remember the longer a sauce sits, the more flavorful it becomes!

The great thing about this dish is you get the dough action from the pasta, you get the cheesiness and you get a ton of meat and a nice blend of vegetables to make it a healthy and hearty meal.



Serves: 10
Points Plus Values (w/ cheese): 6 Points Plus
Points Plus Values (w/o cheese): 5 Points Plus
Serving size: 1 Cup

Ingredients:
- 1 1/8 pounds 93% lean ground beef
- 1 large onion (or 2 mediums), diced
- 2 small red peppers, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 4 ounce Hormel turkey pepperoni, quartered
- 8 oz uncooked Rotini pasta
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Jar Light Ragu – Tomato & Basil
- 1 can diced tomatoes (drained of almost all liquid)
- 1 cup Reduced Fat Sargento 4-Cheese Mexican (you can use mozzarella but I had this leftover from a previous recipe)
-  Italian seasoning (to taste)
-  Garlic powder (to taste)
-  Black pepper (to taste)
-  Sea salt (to taste)

Instructions:
Cook hamburger with onion and garlic in a non-stick skillet until cooked through. Break up hamburger as finely as possible while cooking.

Place red peppers in a baking dish, spritzed with Pam and bake at 350*F for about 10 minutes, until peppers are softer.

Add red peppers, quartered pepperoni, canned tomatoes and jar of Light Ragu sauce to the pan and stir to combine.  Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt to taste.  I tend to not measure my dry seasonings so I eyeball … but if I had to guestimate I’d taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper.

Add in tomato paste and stir to combine, let simmer for approximately 2 minutes.

Set a pan of water onto boil, seasoned with a little bit of salt (to prevent sticking).  Once boiling add in 8 ounces of pasta and cooked until your liking.  I tend to go with al dente which is usually done in 10 minutes (I use Barilla pasta so it takes a little longer to cook).

Drain pasta and combine with cooked sauce.  Stir to combine.

Transfer contents to a large baking dish, sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese.  Place pan into a 350 degree oven and bake for roughly 10 minutes until cheese is cooked through.


All that’s left to do is enjoy!


 meat sauce
 Pasta w/o cheese
 w/ cheese

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco

For a late lunch today I swung through the Taco Bell drive-thru with my niece and picked myself up a Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco (original flavor - not supreme which includes sour cream).  Cool Ranch Doritos are my absolute favorite Doritos flavor so when I saw they came out with these I was excited.  I had tried the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco when that came out -- well over 6-months ago and though it was good so I felt the Cool Ranch version could only be that much better.

The taco itself was yummy!  It consists of a nicely seasoned Cool Ranch taco shell but not overpoweringly seasoned.  The ground beef, lettuce and cheese is as it's provided in any staple Taco Bell taco.  It was a nice "treat" since I tend to make my own tacos at home.  I only had one, which was satisfying for me.

Weight Watchers Points Plus wise -- this was 4 PP.  The supreme version, which has sour cream on it, is 5 PP.  I typically never get anything "supreme" at Taco Bell but if sour cream is something you enjoy on tacos - enjoy!  I admit it's nice to try because it is so different from a classic taco.

QUESTION:
Have you tried the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Trader Joe’s – Trader Ming’s Stir Fried Vegetable Rolls



While shopping at Trader Joe’s I picked up a pack of these frozen Trader Ming’s Stir Fried Vegetable Rolls.  They looked like they could be mighty delicious and had some pretty favorable stats on the nutrition label, so I dropped them into my shopping cart.  Last week I paired them with a dish I had prepared and I, as well as my boyfriend, found them to be quite delicious!

They bake up in the oven in 25 minutes, flipping them half-way through the cooking process to ensure even crisping.  The wrapper is nice and crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside.  The filling is perfect – nicely seasoned.  They remind me of a better tasting eggroll you would get at a local Chinese restaurant – without all the fat and unnecessary calories.

I would suggest cooking up only what you plan on eating that day.  I made all 5 and put 3 in the refrigerator.  They do get a little soggy in the fridge, but that’s almost expected so I wasn’t frustrated by that.  I could have put them in the toaster oven to crisp up, but I just heated the leftover rolls in the microwave for a handful of seconds to take the chill off.  Oveerall – definitely 2 thumbs up and a re-purchase must!

Point plus wise – 1 roll was 3 points plus.

QUESTION:
Have you tried the Trader Joe’s Trader Ming’s Stir Fried Vegetable rolls?

Image is mine do not take or use. Thank you.

BzzCampaign: Café Escapes Review



Being an active part of BzzAgent, I was invited to take part in the Café Escapes BzzCampaign. I was excited initially because I LOVE hot chocolate.  I don’t drink a whole lot of it these days because it’s usually so high in sugars, calories (points) and just makes me feel sooo sleepy after consuming.  I do reach for my handy dandy Diet Swiss Miss when I’m in the mood for hot cocoa .  I admit I’ve never ventured into hot cocoa for my Keurig machine so this intrigued me.  I mean, how simple can we make it?

I received quite a sampling in my BzzAgent kit, so I stuck them all into my K-Cup holder and off and sampling we went.  The flavors received were:
- Café Vanilla (x2)
- Café Caramel (x2)
- Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa
- Chai Latte
- Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa
- Café Mocha

My boyfriend tried a Café Vanilla first and his end result was it wasn’t that good – it was watery – really gross and he ended up pouring it down the drain.  I tried the Chai Latte, Café Caramel and was NOT impressed. The Chai Latte was so bland and watery that I couldn’t force myself to chug through the rest of it.  The caramel was watery and overpoweringly sweet.  Just gross.  Friends and family tried the hot cocoas and no one was truly impressed with the end result.  The consistency always stays watery and it’s no where near the “thickness” you should get with hot chocolate or even a latte.

Overall – 2 thumbs down.  This is not a product I’d recommend anyone pick up.

QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Café Escapes products?



<img src="https://img.bzzagent.com/image/cafeEscapes.jpg?Type=activity&Activity=5454718464&Campaign=9622084068&Uid=1278590&token=194e9d7af3e7596d3798bc889cc5c584" alt=""/>

Lay’s Limited Edition – Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

I picked these up a few weeks ago when they first hit the shelves and I had been waiting to try them – or rather they were hidden away in my closet because I didn’t want to over indulge on potato chips since potato chips are sometimes a trigger food for me.  I knew going into it that these had a lot of mixed reviews – some people loved them while others were completely repulsed.  Then there are the folks who are at the middle of the road and don’t know what way they want to turn.

In case you are not aware Lay’s had a competition for fans to come up with their ideal chip flavor and after some hefty choices Lay’s went with Sriracha, Cheesy Garlic Bread and Chicken & Waffles.  I had tried the Sriracha and completely loved them – so next up was this particular flavor.

I have to say looking at them – they look like a browner colored BBQ chip.  The first bite was “Oh, this is weird…” second bite “Okay… this taste like breakfast.”  All I can get from these is a strong breakfast taste – like syrup and maybe even a hint of French toast (if that even makes sense).  These definitely aren’t something I can eat a whole lot of.  I’m not crazy about them and I wouldn’t say run out and pick up a bag.

My boyfriend on the other hand – I let him try one (or rather I held it out to him and was like “TRY THIS!”) was immediately repulsed, spit it out AND went and washed his mouth out LOL.

Points Plus wise – 4 for a serving.

QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the limited edition Lay’s potato chip flavors? If so, what’s your favorite?

Nestle PomPom Marshmallow Cakes

I picked up this box of Nestle PomPom Marshmallow Cakes at Big Lots yesterday.  They were only a dollar, so I figured if they were a complete fail, it wouldn’t annoy me because I didn’t spend a whole lot of money on them.  I have to admit upon opening them and sharing with my boyfriend, they were pretty tasty little “cakes”.

They are the size of a cookie and are very light and airy.  The bottom of the cake is a very thin cake and it’s topped with a light and airy marshmallow which is cased in shredded coconut.  They’re delicious with the right hint of sweetness and a nice punch of coconut.  I did see these also came in a chocolate variety, but I love coconut so I figured these would do the trick.

Serving size wise – 4 is a serving, which is generous.  They’re also very low in calories – 90 for a serving.  Weight Watchers Points Plus wise, 4 cakes will cost you 3 Points Plus, whereas I had 2 (half a serving) and it was only 1 points plus.  Definitely worth the pick-up if you spot these!

There ain’t no shame in my game because I LOVE Crocs and own too many pairs to even openly admit to (seriously, it’s cray).  I went into Marshall’s a few weeks back simply to browse the store because I had a gift card and wanted to do some retail therapy.  While browsing around I spotted these shoes in the back of the store (where the Crocs are stashed) and gasped.  When I went to Florida 5 years ago I saw the Mickey Mouse Crocs being sold in Disney but they were ridiculously priced (like more than $40).  I admit they were the cutest thing I have ever seen but I refused to drop that much money on a pair of Crocs since I had a bunch at home. Needless to say these had to come home with me … and for $15 it was a no brainer.  I’ve worn these every single day since purchasing (and yes I’ve worn them out – on warmer days) but I usually wear them in the house since I’m anti-walking barefoot.

QUESTION:
Do you like coconut desserts?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Believe in yourself & anything is possible

One very important thing I learned very early into my weight loss journey was that I had to believe in myself. If I didn't believe in me -- who else in their right mind would?  If I didn't care enough to believe I could do it, I would never be where I am today.  Even if you're struggling with "liking" yourself in the current stage you are in -- fake it 'til you make it.  You'll get there as long as you don't let negative thoughts, feelings, etc., get in the way and burden your path forward.

It's so very important to believe in yourself.  Belief in yourself will get you anywhere and everywhere - it can push you through a workout, it can push you across that finish line, it can assist in you losing 2 pounds in a week. It can get you through a birthday party NOT having any cake or if you do want cake a small sliver.  Belief in myself has made my journey SO much easier because I feel as though I am an unstoppable machine -- my views are set at that ultimate destination.

It's the second guessing, the excuses and the sheer inability to believe in yourself and your program that will keep you from finding success.  Not believing in yourself will push you into "cheat days" and not tracking and eventually giving up all together.  As I have said to many ... believe in you first and believe in the program because anything is possible as long as you believe.

Keep your head up and your mind right!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt – Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

I purchased this Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells in Marinara Sauce up at Trader Joe’s a few weeks back and had it stashed in my freezer for a go-to meal – whether on the go, or for a meal because my boyfriend and I didn’t have a solid dinner plan.  I ended up making this for because I did not want to eat regular pasta – plus I was in the mood for cheesy goodness.

I have to say this was quite delicious!  The most important thing was Trader Joe’s did NOT skimp on the cheese in this dish.  It was a cheesy, pasta, marina sauce goodness. Sure, you only got 2 stuffed shells in the dish, but it was very filling.  The pasta is stuffed with a cheese and spinach mixture, which is topped with the marinara and a nice helping of mozzarella.  Purely delicious I tell ya, purely delicious.

This was 7 points plus and was totally worth it.  So if you’re in the mood for a new pasta dish and you’re near a Trader Joe’s I suggest picking this up.

QUESTION:
Do you like frozen pasta dishes?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Broccoli, Tomato & Onion Omelet, Turkey Bacon & Toast

Talk about a breakfast of champions!  If this isn’t it, I don’t know what is.  I was in the mood for an omelet so I decided to make myself one with some liquid egg substitute.  Since I didn’t want a plain jane omelet I went through the fridge and took out a few items I had cut up for different meals and combined them into this delicious creation.

I poured ½ cup liquid egg substitute into the bottom of a heated nonstick pan and seasoned with some Mrs. Dash spicy flavoring, garlic powder and oregano.  I then added in some chopped up tomatoes, broccoli and red onion (which I zapped in the microwave for a few seconds to soften).  I let it cook up on medium heat until cooked through enough to flip.  I then squeezed it a bit (I like my eggs almost “well done”) so I cooked it for a bit on each side until it was – essentially “dead”.

I paired it with 3 slices of Butterball Ultra Thin & Crispy turkey bacon and 2 slices of light wheat bread which I toasted.  I topped my omelet with 2 tablespoons fat free mozzarella, sriracha and reduced sugar ketchup.  So delicious and incredibly filling!

Weight Watchers points plus wise this ONLY cost me 4 points plus.  Worth every point.

QUESTION:
Do you like making omelets?


Lunch: Pigs in a Blanket – a Healthier Alternative



This is what I had for lunch today … pigs in a blanket, but a healthier alternative to the decadent dish.  I had seen quite a few posts on Instagram showcasing these and after picking up some crescent rolls at the market I let my boyfriend know I was going to make these for lunch and he was intrigued because he said he hadn’t had them since he was a kid.  I used regular hot dogs for my boyfriends and used the Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks for myself and paired them alongside reduced fat crescent rolls.

I opened the crescent rolls (trying not to jump as it popped) and wrapped each hot dog up into the center of the roll and placed onto a Pam spritzed baking sheet.  I then put them into a 350 degree oven and baked for 12 minutes until nice and golden.  My oven cooks very quickly so I have to avoid baking anything per directions or they just burn up completely.

I did have a small side salad with my pigs in a blanket just to have a bit more filling lunch.  And of course who can have pigs in a blanket without mustard and ketchup? Certainly not this girl!

For two crescent rolls it added up to 5 Points Plus values and for 2 hot dogs it was 2 PointsPlus values.  So a great, 7 Points Plus lunch!

QUESTION:
Do you like pigs in a blanket?

Holy Moly CANNOLI cones!



I have seen these cannoli cones for YEARS since Hungry Girl originally came out with the recipe.  I even printed the recipe at one point and gave it to a co-worker of mine since she loved cannoli’s but told herself she could no longer have them because she was eating healthy.  I always had my eyes set on making these; I have about 4 print-outs of this recipe in different recipe folders but just never got around to making them … until now.  And I have to say, I don’t know why I waited so long because these are certifiably AMAZING!

I followed the recipe exactly as it reads on the website.  I had all the ingredients needed to make this except for the fat free ricotta, the cool whip and the sugar cones.  But after a quick trip to the grocery store that was quickly solved.  And for 3 points plus values for a decadent dessert – you can’t go wrong!

I do want to thank my friend, Raekel for giving me the inspiration to make these since she made them and shared the photo on Instagram!

If you’re interested in trying this amazingly delicious and HEALTHY cannoli recipe, find it here: http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1225

QUESTION:
Have you ever tried making a healthy alternative to a favorite dessert?



Deconstructed Pierogi Pasta



A number of weeks back I was really in the mood for pierogi’s.  My mother and aunt make homemade pierogi’s from scratch usually every Christmas – but this year they didn’t make them.  I could have just thrown a box of frozen in some boiling water and called it a day but I was feeling adventurous and while grocery shopping I spotted egg noodles and decided to try out a new recipe.

I boiled some water seasoned with a little bit of salt and when boiling I added in the egg noodles to cook through to al dente.  In a separate pan I added 2 tablespoons of margarine and added in 2 sliced up medium onions.  I let those start to cook and brown together before adding in a splash of water (to keep it from sticking) and added in my squeezed canned sauerkraut.  Since I LOVE sauerkraut I used two cans (which you want to make sure you ring pretty ‘dry’) the two cans was just enough for the whole bag of egg noodles.  I seasoned the sauerkraut and onion mixture with a pinch of black pepper and a pinch of salt.

I boiled the turkey kielbasa in water just to heat it through (you can even throw it in the same pot as the boiling pasta if you’d like since it’s already cooked).  When the noodles were done I drained and added into the pan of sauerkraut and mixed until combined.

I had 1/6th of the pan of pasta and it was 7 points plus values and I paired it with 2 ounces of Jennie-O turkey kielbasa – along side a helping of spicy brown mustard.  Delicious meal!

QUESTION:
Have you ever had deconstructed pierogi pasta before?




Sunday, March 3, 2013

Binner ... Breakfast for Dinner!

This is what I call Binner ... Breakfast for Dinner!  A few weeks ago I was throwing options out there for dinner to my boyfriend and somehow I mentioned breakfast.  Then it was a toss-up between pancakes and french toast (evidently french toast won almost immediately).  I had some shredded potatoes in the refrigerator that I had picked up at the grocery store -- so I decided on hash browns, sausage patties and french toast it was!

I took 3 slices of light wheat bread and dunked it in a mixture of 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute, a dash of cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla extract.  I cooked them up on a non-stick grill pan.  The 3 slices of french toast came out to be 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus values.  I made my boyfriend regular french toast (with 1 beaten egg, skim milk, vanilla and cinnamon) and simply cooked his in a non-stick grill pan.

I tossed a turkey sausage (2 PointsPlus) into the pan to heat through while in another skillet (sprayed with Pam) I cooked up some diced onion and minced garlic and added in a 1 cup of shredded potato.  I seasoned with black pepper, garlic powder and a dash of salt.  When done I split the pan between my boyfriend and I -- my serving was 2 Points Plus.

Once plated I drizzled 1/4 cup sugar free Vermont Maid syrup over my french toast and added a few sliced strawberries.  Delicious and totally filling!

QUESTION:
Do you like breakfast for dinner?

Dinner: Cajun Chicken Pasta



I was on the hunt for something new to eat for dinner and after searching the Skinny Taste website I decided to try the Cajun Chicken Pasta because I was in the mood for chicken and since I hadn’t had pasta in a long while it sounded perfect.  I went to the market and picked up the few essentials I’d need to make the meal and back home I went to cook up a fabulous meal.  And I can say this is ABSOLUTELY fabulous!  I did make a double batch of the recipe (which was a mistake because my boyfriend wouldn’t eat any because it was a “white sauce”) so I ended up giving some away and eating it for lunch and dinner for days on end.

I followed the recipe but ended up adding extra Cajun seasoning and a little black pepper, but other than that the recipe was word-for-word.  The one thing I will say is I let my pasta sit in the pan I combined it all in for about 30 minutes and the sauce (at first it was swimming in liquid) soaked up into the dish.  This is a recipe I highly recommend … it taste as though it would be HIGHLY unhealthy for you, but it really was anything but.

If you want the recipe, check the Skinny Taste website if you think this is something that you’d enjoy:  http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/02/cajun-chicken-pasta-on-lighter-side.html

QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Skinny Taste recipes?  If so, what’s your favorite so far?