Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trader Joe's Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dip

In an attempt to make a healthy snack fresh vegetables, I decided to pick up a container of the Trader Joe's Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dip. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect flavor wise, but I only hoped it would be delicious ... and I have to say, it really is.

With Greek yogurt dips I find they really are give or take. Sometimes they are a huge win, other times they are a huge fail. This dip itself is a huge win (so much win I've repurchased it a few times). The consistency of the dip is along the lines of looser than a chip dip, which is perfect to dip fresh veggies into. It's perfectly jalapeno, offering a nice almost bold spice - it's definitely clearly there but it's certainly not so spicy that your taste buds are overwhelmed. It's far more enjoyable than say the ranch veggie dip that's sold at most grocery stores. Plus, since it's not as thick your taste buds aren't just getting all dip and cancelling out the natural flavor of the vegetable you're dipping.

Initially I had purchased a tray of cut up vegetables at Trader Joe's and found the combination perfectly complimented the jalapeno flavor. Jicama, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and sugar snap peas. All went pleasantly with the dip but as would snap peas, broccoli, celery, and bell peppers etc.

A serving, 2 tbsp, is 50 calories or 1 points plus values.

Trader Joe's Greek Nonfat Yogurt Coconut Cream

I picked up a container of Trader Joe's Greek Nonfat Yogurt Coconut Cream to give a shot because I love coconut cream yogurt but haven't quite found one that suits my fancy. I hadn't tried this particular flavor of yogurt in the past but knowing that I've enjoyed the mango I figured this couldn't be half bad.

That thought was correct. The yogurt is a pretty nice, thick and creamy consistency. It has a very smooth coconut cream taste. You can taste the coconut and the creamy layer to it makes it very satisfying. I also found that you can occasionally find pieces of shredded coconut within your yogurt which is a nice little treat. It's mildly sweet, but certainly not sour as some other Greek yogurts can tend to be. I (as with most of my yogurt) enjoyed it alongside some cut up fruit for a little yogurt parfait action. It has undoubtedly become my favorite coconut cream Greek yogurt that I have tried from numerous brands.
A serving, 1 container, is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Late July Snacks Bacon Habanero Tortilla Chips

I picked up a bag of the Late July Snacks - Bacon Habanero Tortilla Chips on a quick trip through Whole Foods one day. I have seen the Late July brand of tortilla chips at my local grocery stores but for the most part they only have the plain or bean varieties. Considering I've got a weak spot for Doritos I figured I'd give these a whirl, especially since bacon habanero sounded amazing.
The chips turned out to be exceptionally delicious. They're very reminiscent of Doritos with that crunchy tortilla chip style chip which is flavored well with a smokey spicy seasoning. Initially the spice isn't quite noticeable but it does creep up on you. I wouldn't say these are firehouse hot, they're a nice subtle heat with a nice smokey undertone which plays off the whole "bacon" vibe. There's also a subtle sweetness to them that aids in masking the habanero heat on the first few chips.

Unfortunately I've only been able to find these at Whole Foods. I've rolled the dice in hopes to find them at other specialty stores that offer Late July Snacks, but I've yet to be successful outside of Whole Foods.
A serving, 1 ounce (roughly 12 chips) is 130 calories or 4 points plus values.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

S'mores Oreo's

I would be lying if I said I wasn't eagerly looking forward to trying the new S'mores Oreo's. I had been keeping my eyes peeled while walking past the Oreo's at my local grocery stores. Then I noticed fellow Instagrammers were posting about them after spotting them at Target .. so off to Target I went.

I will make a bold statement before I delve into the deliciousness that these cookies are. So with that, I will go on record to state: these are hands down one of the best flavored Oreo's I have tried date.
The Oreo's are exactly as they're described - S'mores flavored. The cookie is graham cracker flavored, the cream is a mixture of chocolate and marshmallow flavored cream. Together, you undoubtedly get the classic flavor of a s'more just without the ooey gooey mess that comes with eating a true s'more. The only other difference that's not there is the burnt crunchy exterior of the marshmallow (granted, being, if you eat your s'mores that way). They're a true perfect rendition of the s'mores ... so good in fact that when I took the package out to share amongst family my neice, nephew and mother had their fair share.  So much of a fair share that I picked up another package while at the grocery store.
The S'moreo's should continue to be a staple in the brands product line because it simply is that good!
A serving, 2 cookies, are 140 calories or 4 points plus values.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Trader Joe's Curry Chicken Tenders

I remember trying these Trader Joe's Curry Chicken Tenders many, many moons ago and I just never went back and revisited them. I think it was due to the fact I tried cooking them in a grill pan on the stove and it just turned into a mess. So I gave it some time and this time decided to bake them in the oven to make life easier and make the chicken cook the way I wanted it to.

Now, I am a fan of curry ... but for the most part I tend to eat Jamaican curry. Curry spices vary region to region, and with that change the overall flavor and spice category widely varies. For this particular dish I find this to be more of a mild American flavored curry. Where it's got a little bit of smokey flavor to it, but it's certainly not spicy on the tongue. There's more of a turmeric and cumin flavor to it than the general spicy heat that can come with other varieties of curry seasoning.

The package states to grill up the tenders but I opted to bake mine in the oven and I found they came out perfectly. I baked them at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes and removed them from the oven when done. I allowed them to cool before packaging up into containers for meals during the week.

Overall, they're not bad. The only thing I wasn't a huge fan of was that on some of the tenders you could see visible pieces of fat/cartilage. To some that wouldn't be bothersome, but I'm a person who cleans their meat free of any trace of fat/cartilage/etc.

A serving, 4 ounces, is 160 calories or 4 points plus values.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Thomas' Banana Bread Bagels

On a quick lunchtime trip through Wal-Mart I noticed a display of Thomas' bagels. I know Thomas' likes to come out with limited edition bagels and since it had been some time since I've had a bagel I decided to see what was to offer. Low and behold I stumbled upon the Thomas' Banana Bread Bagels and immediately was sold.

The bagels themselves smell amazing through the bag. They smell very reminiscent of banana bread. There's a banana and cinnamon scent clearly evident running throughout the bag which was just a heavenly scent.

Unfortunately that tickle on the senses doesn't as smoothly run over into the taste of the product. They certainly don't scream banana bread when you eat it. It's got a plain bagel flavor, perhaps even a cinnamon raisin (without the raisin) flavor to the bagel itself. Although you do get a banana flavor when you bite into one of the banana pieces within the dough itself. I guess you can say they're a hint of banana bread to it but certainly not quite. I'd say, don't bite into it expecting to taste the real deal banana bread because you'll be disappointed.

They're certainly not a bad bagel, but they're not as flavorful as I may have hoped for. Although I did find I enjoyed them most with some peanut butter and a few pieces of sliced banana on it. It made for a killer tasty, peanut buttery banana filled breakfast.

Each bagel is 260 calories or 7 points plus values.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter Cheesecake

I purchased this Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter Cheesecake in December and popped it into the freezer. The idea was to have it around the holidays ... but with all the craziness that comes with the holiday hustle and bustle the cheesecake sat in the freezer untouched. For Easter I decided to opt out of making a dessert and serving this up to my family. 
The cheesecake is sold frozen and the directions state to defrost in the refrigerator or defrost at room temperature. The defrost times vary depending on the method you choose. This is your classic cheesecake, with a unique twist - added cookie butter on top. The crust if a crumbly, yet firm graham cracker crust, the cheesecake layer is smooth and creamy and the cookie butter smeared on top gives the whole dish a sweet, ginger snap flavor. It is sweet, but not as sweet as say a turtle cheesecake.  A single serving of cheesecake is definitely enough to satisfy ones sweet tooth.
Overall it was a smash hit for our holiday dessert - everyone that had a piece was equally pleased with how scrumptious is was.
Just in case you are a little bummed this isn't sold in stores at the present time, have no fear, Trader Joe's has mini bite versions of this available in the freezer section. They're basically the same thing, just cut into square miniature bites instead of served as a whole cheesecake.
A serving, 1/6th of the cheesecake, is 410 calories or 11 points plus values.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps

I have seen the Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps time and time again but had not picked them up until recently. Truth be told ... I LOVE ginger cookies/desserts. Plus knowing these bad boys are what helps make the fabulously delicious Cookie Butter meant they couldn't be half bad, right?

The label describes the cookies as being "made with crystallized finger, ginger puree and ground ginger." Seems like it'd be an overwhelming amount of spice in a cookie ... but it's really not. The flavor is so well balanced that the cookie offers a very classic almost softer ginger spice while also offering a sweetness you get from baked goods. The cookies themselves are great. They're crispy and crunchy, yet the crystallized ginger really adds a level of uniqueness to it. It provides an almost chewy effect to it, which is noticed when eating the cookie. You get a crunch, but there's a little bit of chewy bits in it which are undoubtedly the crystallized ginger showing through.

These are undoubtedly one of the best ginger cookies I have had (and I have had quite a few). They satisfy the want for sweet, crunchy, and savory all together. They're fabulous on their own while they also compliment a nice cup of coffee/tea splendedly as well.

A serving, 6 cookies is 130 calories or 3 points plus values.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Trader Joe's Baconesque White Cheddar Popcorn

I picked up a bag of the Trader Joe's Baconesque White Cheddar Popcorn going into it knowing the outcome could truly only go one of two ways. I've tried a number of bacon flavored products down the line and I've learned they either go down a delicious path or a rather disgusting one.

Opening the bag off the bat I didn't notice any real noticeable smells. There wasn't a bacon essence perfuming out of the bag, let alone was there much of a white cheddar flavor coming out of the bag. It smelled like regular ole popcorn. But upon first bite there really was a "baconesque" flavor there (while there not being any real bacon in the product), along with a white cheddar flavor. It doesn't taste like you threw a piece of bacon and popcorn in your mouth at the same time. It has that smoky flavor that comes with bacon, without being overwhelming on the senses. The white cheddar flavor is there and it comes into play in the background, really sealing the two flavors together as one.

Trader Joe's certainly hit the nail on the head with this product and certainly hit it out of the park. It's undoubtedly delicious and quite truly addicting. It's a great snack which is flavorful and enjoyable. The popcorn has a crunch to it while also having that classic white cheddar popcorn softness. Love at first bite? I'd say so...

A serving, 1 ounce (roughly 2 cups) is 160 calories or 4 points plus values.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Trader Joe's Spicy California Rolls

Truthfully, I am not much of a seafood fan ... so stepping into the world of sushi has always been a little daunting. Admittedly, I tried cooked salmon sushi years ago and was absolutely not a fan so I took a step away from being adventurous when it came to sushi.
I've always noticed the prepared sushi available at my local Trader Joe's. I'd look and think maybe I should give it a try, but was just overall hesitant. Then one day my co-worker gave me a California roll she got from a local sushi restaurant to try out. I enjoyed it and in that moment I guess I sprouted wings. So on a trip to Trader Joe's I decided to pick up a container of the Trader Joe's Spicy California Rolls. I know some people are wowed that my first trip into sushi was grocery store packaged ... but in my defense I'd rather not spend a lot of money at a sushi restaurant to be completely grossed out (in public) let alone grossed out in my own home. So store bought was truly the way to go to get my "feet wet" if you will.
The container comes complete with 8 spicy California rolls, a package of organic soy sauce, wasabi and ginger. The sushi itself holds up pretty well and doesn't crumble. The rice is a little harder but I feel that's normal for cold rice. The filling itself I don't find to be spicy and it's not offensive tasting. My preferred way to eat it was to add a little soy sauce, ginger and wasabi to each California roll and pop the whole thing in my mouth and chew. The condiments added to it really helped bring it all together and made it a delicious snack. I wouldn't say it would be a completely filling lunch since it's higher in carbohydrate than protein, but it was satisfying.
I have repurchased this numerous times and have found it to be equally enjoying with every purchase.
A serving, 3 rolls is 150 calories or 4 points plus values.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter & Jelly Greek Yogurt

On a trip into Trader Joe's I specifically made a bee-line to the dairy section to pick up a few containers of the Trader Joe's Peanut Butter & Jelly Greek Yogurt. I had seen a picture of them on Instagram and since I am quite the fan of Greek yogurt I knew I had to give this one a go.

I decided to have this as a snack before heading out for the afternoon. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was hoping for pure awesomeness. At first it tastes very much like peanut butter. Second taste it tastes like a muted peanut butter and jelly. Third taste, it tastes like slightly tangy Greek yogurt. Then you pause and cycle back through all those steps again. Overall, it's decent, not the worst Greek yogurt I've tried, but certainly not the best. I wish the jelly flavor (strawberry) were a little more prominent but that's probably my only complaint.
The yogurt certainly didn't satisfy my want for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It hinted towards it, but didn't hit it dead on. I wasn't wowed but I also wasn't grossed out. I guess you can say, I was left kind of "eh" about it where I could take it or leave it. Do I think it justified the calories/points? Not at all. But it was something worth trying, at least once.

A serving is 170 calories or 5 points plus values.

Trader Joe's Zesty Southwestern Style Stuffed Chicken Breast

After seeing the Trader Joe's Zesty Southwestern Style Stuffed Chicken Breast on Instagram, they were immediately put on my list of things to try. Unfortunately for a while they were near extinct at my local Trader Joe's until over a month ago when I finally found them in the refrigerated meat/butcher section.
The chicken breast are sold raw and they are coated in a blend of spices, cheese, tortilla chips and sliced black olives while the chicken breast is also stuffed with cheese and pepper. The cooking directions are perfect because the chicken cooks evenly and still has a level of moistness to it without being dry as a bone.
The directions call to put the chicken breast in a baking dish (I choose to line mine with foil to make for easy clean up). Cover the chicken breast with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and return it back to the oven to bake for an additional 25-30 minutes When all done baking you're left with a crispy exterior, gooey cheese and just a spectacular tasting chicken.  To me it tastes as though you're having chicken tacos because you get that southwestern spice, while the cheese, olives and tortilla strips add more to the taco ambiance of you will.
I am such a fan of these chicken breasts that I have made trips up to Trader Joe's nearly weekly just to pick up another package. I find I enjoy the chicken best alongside a garden salad. This way I can have an enjoyable piece of chicken (7-8 ounces) alongside some fresh greens.

A serving, 5 ounces, is 190 calories or 5 points plus values.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Trader Joe's Mango & Cream Bars

I've seen the Trader Joe's Mango & Cream Bars time and time again but had yet to pick them up for a variety of reasons (not going home right away, deciding to get them 'next time', etc.) That is until recently ... the weathers been getting nicer and that only means I want a nice sweet treat as a reward for putting up with the change in weather.

I admit I saw on the box there were 8 bars in a pack. I admit I sized up the box trying to figure out how big these bars may be. Upon opening the box I learned they are actually smaller than I imagined (there's also a little more breathing room in the box than I assumed there would be). Case in point the bars are small but not teeny tiny. There's also no stick to hold onto - the bars are packaged in sort of a "push up pop" fashion (minus any plastic or tools). You merely unwrap it and use the wrapping as your stick to keep your fingers from freezing off.

Taste wise it's very much mango. It's along the lines of a very smooth tasting mango Popsicle. The outside edge is a slightly thick cream which really brings the two flavors together and smooths them out. It mellows out some of the natural sweetness of the mango flavoring and makes it refreshing. It brings fourth a bit of an ice cream vibe while also maintaining that Popsicle flare.

Overall, it's rally unique and tasty. The bars are undoubtedly refreshing, spring/summer approved and a new favorite of mine.

A serving, 1 bar, is 60 calories or 2 points plus OR you can have 2 bars for 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Oreo - Cotton Candy

There has been so much hype around new limited edition Oreo flavors that are supposed to be hitting the market, that when I finally spotted the Cotton Candy Oreo's at my local Target I knew I had to pick them up. Truthfully, I was intrigued to try these because I find the golden Oreo limited edition flavors are some of my favorite, especially when it comes to unique flavors.

Opening the package there is a sweet scent to it, but nothing that screams cotton candy at a fair. You know .. that spun sugar scent that can be found wafting through the air at any carnival/fair around the country?  The cream on these Oreo's is split down the middle, half pastel blue with the other half pastel pink. Flavor wise they are nothing but cotton candy. It took a few taste tests for me to agree with them being a dead ringer. That is because I was trying to recall what fair ground cotton candy tastes like. It wasn't until someone mentioned they tasted exactly like the packaged cotton candy you can get at the grocery store or gas station that I wholeheartedly agreed.

The cookies are as sweet as your average Oreo, nothing overly sweet to make one nauseous. The cotton candy flavor is there and it doesn't scream artificial flavoring (like some products do). Overall they are quite enjoyable and totally a hit.  As mentioned, I have only found these at my local Target location.

A serving, 2 cookies is 140 calories or 4 points plus values.