Monday, August 31, 2015

Yoplait Greek 100 Calories - Orange Creme

I'm a pretty avid Yoplait and Dannon Greek yogurt fan, pretty much if I see a new flavor, I'm going to give it a try. One of the flavors that's been out for a while, but I haven't been able to find anywhere has been the Yoplait Greek 100 Calories - Orange Creme.

I have seen this shown on numerous Instagram postings for months and I finally found the allusive yogurt at a local Wal-Mart. Sadly, not all retailers carry this flavor ... and sadly I only purchased one container while at the store. Note to self: buy more when you find this again.

Granted, with that statement you can pretty much sum up the fact that I completely LOVE this yogurt! It tastes just like an orange creme popsicle. It's got that cool orange flavor, while having a creamy vanilla base which in my mind tastes along the lines of the ice cream in a orange cream popsicle. It's definitely a dessert like yogurt, that I'd enjoy as an after lunch or dinner "dessert". It's refreshing, delicious and a complete win for me. I need to venture my way back to my local Wal-Mart to get a couple of these to stash away in the refrigerator when I want something dessert-like.

A serving, 1 container, is 100 calories or 2 points plus values.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fruit Dips - Just Ripe Banana

I have seen the Fruit Dips - Just Ripe Banana over and over again at my local grocery store but had yet to pick them up until I was in the mood for something along the lines of ice cream. I'm a banana dessert junkie so I decided I just had to give these a shot. Particularly after my coworker turned me onto frozen banana slices topped with nutella (sorry for that tidbit).

The box describes the frozen dessert as a "premium frozen fruit bars dipped in rich chocolate coating." They're smaller in size, but big enough to be satisfying and satisfy that sweet tooth. The bar itself is made of mashed up frozen bananas which are frozen to a stick. It's then coated in a thin layer of chocolate which help bring fourth the banana flavor and natural sweetness of the fruit. It's the right amount of sweetness to be a suitable dessert and satisfying enough when you want something cold to cool you down. I found it to be quite enjoyable - more so than the chocolate covered frozen bananas they sell in the grocery store and at local fairs.

These are sold in a number of different flavors. Just to name a few: strawberry, coconut, and they're also sold with a Greek yogurt topping instead of the chocolate.

A serving, 1 pop, is 92 calories or 2 points plus values.

Trader Joe's Popcorn in a Pickle

Popcorn is one of those snacks that can truly be transformed into anything depending on your mood. Salty, savory, sweet, plain, etc. ... the world is essentially your oyster when you're in a popcorn mood. Needless to say when I spotted the Trader Joe's Popcorn in a Pickle I had to pick up a bag for curiosities sake.

I am a pickle and popcorn fan ... so to have the two merge into one world, it felt like an experience one should engage in. After all I have had pickle flavored potato chips in the past, so, why not venture into pickle flavored popcorn? Upon opening the bag I admit, I was surprised as how much like an open jar of pickles it smelled like. That vinegary, briny sourness just punches your nostrils and really does kind of leave you confused, worried and possibly even scared.

First bite ... holy moly! It taste like a pickle! Mind boggling is all I can say. My taste buds were completely confused because it's a different texture, but the flavor is all there. The more you eat, the tarter it tends to get. My face was puckering, my jaw was getting tense. I only had about 3/4 of a cup before I decided to tap out. Just due to the tartness of it, I don't think this is something that one could easily be binge on. It's more of a have a snack, enjoy it and put it away for later. This isn't like the Baconesque popcorn that I basically have to hide from myself and put myself on time out when I continue to go back for more.

Sharing this with my mother (who absolutely loved it) one of the first things I said to her was, "I'm pretty sure this is a stereotypical pregnant woman's dream come true."

A serving, 2 cups, is 150 calories or 4 points plus values.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Power Bowl

One afternoon en route to our destination, my boyfriend said he wanted Taco Bell.  Immediately I thought "darn..." because I truly wasn't in the mood for a taco because I wanted something that would be satisfying (i.e. I didn't want to be hungry a couple hours later). Glancing over their menu it dawned on me that they had power bowl menu's which I had believed to be lower in calories/points (I wasn't able to check at the time of drive-thru so I winged my order and got it how I thought I'd like it).

I ended up ordering the Taco Bell Cantina Chicken Power Bowl (the entree is also sold topped with steak, while it can also be purchased as a burrito). The good thing about these salads is that they're made to order. You can remove items from the meal or add them based on your likes or dislikes (one of those additions can be extra lettuce).

According to the website: "Experience how High Protein meets BIG Flavor! 100% marinated and fire-grilled white meat chicken, crisp romaine lettuce, guacamole made from real Hass avocados, pico de gallo prepared fresh daily, flavorful avocado ranch dressing, real cheddar cheese, and cool reduced-fat sour cream, all served on a bed of premium Latin rice and slow-simmered black beans. Also available in Steak or Veggie."

I personally found the power bowl to be quite satisfying. It was flavorful and far from boring. I enjoy taco salads at home but sometimes I don't think to put beans and rice in it - so it was definitely a delicious addition. Even though I ordered my salad without dressing the container was put into the bag. I did give it a little sample (dipped my fork into it) and it's quite delicious. Personally, for my taste buds it'd be a little too rich to drizzle over the bowl ... but I found just with everything combined there wasn't a need for the salad dressing.

Each bowl, as served is 490 calories or 13 points plus values.

Whereas, each bowl without sour cream, cheese and avocado ranch dressing (as I purchased it) is 380 calories or 10 points plus values.

You can calculate any of Taco Bells items to your liking by adding/subtracting toppings from any of their menu items using the following calculator:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trader Joe's Meatless Breakfast Patties

Every once in a while I like to try meatless products to switch things up a bit. I'm not anti-meat, but sometimes things get boring and need a little exciting different things thrown in the mix. With that, I opted to pick up a box of the Trader Joe's Meatless Breakfast Patties one afternoon and popped them in my freezer. I pulled them out the other day to have prepared for breakfasts for a few days.

For not being made of meat I have to say these breakfast patties are really quite good. Size comparison they're about roughly the same size as Morningstar Farms breakfast patties, whereas in comparison to your average round pork breakfast patty these are roughly larger than those. You can choose to heat these in a pan on the stove top or heat them in the microwave (cooking time varies based on the amount of patties cooking at once).  I personally opted for the microwave option because I was trying to move the food preparation process along a little faster.

Taste wise, these have the classic flavor notes of regular sausage patties. They're not greasy tasting or fatty flavored - they're just spiced quite well. Cutting into them, they appear to have the same texture as regular sausage. Flavor wise they're pretty tasty (spice wise), not bad at all. They are a little softer in texture (if you're comparing it to regular sausage) but they're no where near mushy. The outside has a decent crust on it, which leaves the insides relatively moist.

A single patty offers a gracious 7 grams of protein, which is pretty spectacular in my book.

A serving, 1 patty, is 80 calories or 2 points plus values.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Trader Joe's Cold Pressed Juice - Watermelon

When spring and summer rolls around my absolute favorite fruit is hands down watermelon. It's refreshing, sweet, juicy and can be served in a number of ways always keeping things interesting. Needless to say when I spotted the Trader Joe's Cold Pressed Juice Watermelon I was intrigued off the bat and had to pick up a bottle.

I've tried a cold pressed juice in the past from Trader Joe's and wasn't impressed, but I figured how on earth could we screw up watermelon? Thankfully, that thought process was correct. This watermelon pressed juice is quite delicious. It's refreshing, while it's not very sweet. There's a bit of tartness to it (in part to the lemon added to the drink), but also due to using some of the less sweet parts of the watermelon (the white on the rind which is included when making this juice). There's that familiar bitterness associated with it that one gets when biting into the white on a watermelon rind. It's not offensive or overwhelming, it's just there lingering in the background.

Like all cold pressed juices, if you let this sit in the refrigerator untouched, the sediment part of it settles at the bottom of the container. But once you shake it up, everything happily merges together. According to the bottle a serving contains approximately 2 pounds of watermelon and 1/4 lemon.  Overall I quite enjoyed it and would repurchase again if I was in the mood for a watermelon flavored juice.

A serving, 1 bottle, is 140 calories or 4 points plus values.

Dannon Evolution Fresh Pineapple Passion Fruit Greek Yogurt

Checking out the yogurt selection at a local grocery store, I spotted a new line of yogurt and picked up the Dannon Evolution Fresh Pineapple Passion Fruit Greek Yogurt. The yogurt is advertised to be a healthier option having no added flavors, artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives. I figured the pineapple passion fruit would be more suitable to my taste buds.

The yogurt itself is decent ... I wouldn't venture out to say it's one of the best yogurts I have had, because it's not, but it's not terrible. Overall, it's mildly sweet while the yogurt itself is on the tarter side. Consistency wise, it's pretty thick but it does have a bit of looseness to it. The fruit on the bottom is a unique texture .. it reminds me a lot of pureed fruit.  It's thicker while also having a gelatin vibe to it. I didn't think it screamed pineapple passion, it was rather lackluster and on the boring side.

I wouldn't say run out and buy it immediately. But if you're in the market for a healthier alternative to yogurt, why not give it a shot? It's not bad, it just wasn't my ideal type of Greek yogurt.

A serving is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Yoplait Greek 100 Calories Whips! Coconut Macaroon

This has to be one of the most exciting yogurt finds I have stumbled across in a while. When the Greek Whips line launched I was quick to try a few of the flavors available ... but let me introduce you to one of the newest (and my favorite): Yoplait Greek 100 Calories Whips! Coconut Macaroon.

The Yoplait Whips are a Greek yogurt which is whipped, which leaves the yogurt with a very light and airy consistency. The consistency is more along the lines of freshly made whipped cream. Flavor wise it's definitely a healthier rendition of a coconut macaroon. The coconut flavor is there on center stage, but it's not overwhelming nor is it artificial tasting. The smoothness and creaminess of the yogurt give it that macaroon vibe.

Even though these have a few grams of protein less (9g) than your average Greek yogurt (12g), I still think these are a perfect little snack to have on hand from time to time. It definitely switches things up and can give your yogurt game a little twist. Plus it's a new texture to confuse your palette with.

A serving is 100 calories or 2 points plus values.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hillshire Snacking Grilled Chicken Bites - Honey Mustard

Browsing the aisles of my local grocery store I stumbled upon some packaged protein snacks that caught my attention. What really caught my attention was the variety of flavors available in the line. With that I opted to try the Hillshire Snacking Grilled Chicken Bites - Honey Mustard.

I found these little gems stocked in the area where the Lunchables and other "kid friendly" meals/snacks would be. These are packaged similar to the Lunchables protein packs where there's a little spot for the container of dipping sauce and the chicken is served in the tray alongside it. One of the bonuses with these is that they can be consumed either cold or warmed in the microwave for 15 seconds.

One might be thinking if you wanted protein why not cook a piece of chicken and take it with you? Sure, that was one of my thoughts but ideally sometimes one needs a grab and go type of snack and protein is one of those staple items that is guaranteed to curb my appetite. I brought this to work with me, stashed it in the refrigerator and one day where I was feeling snacky I took it out, popped it in the microwave (I removed the sauce first) and found it was satisfying.

The chicken isn't the best chicken I've ever had, but it's decent for what you're getting. It's smooth, white meat chicken - perhaps slightly processed feeling, but far better than deli ham/turkey cubes. The honey mustard sauce was a perfect addition to the chicken, providing flavor without being overwhelming. The sauce container is smaller, but it was truly was more than enough for the 3 ounces of chicken in the container. I was able to get a good dip of each piece of chicken without running out of sauce before I ran out of chicken. Overall, I found it to be pretty satisfactory for a grab-and-go type of deal.

The flavor varieties my store carried were as follows: honey mustard, teriyaki, mango habanero and spicy chipolte BBQ.

A serving, 1 package, is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

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Yoplait Greek 100 Calories - Honey

Back in the day when I first started getting into Greek yogurt, I'd try to ease the way into the transition with honey flavored yogurt. Of course not all Greek yogurts are the same ... but thru the course of time, I've found my new all-time favorite honey Greek yogurt. Let me introduce you to Yoplait Greek 100 Calories Honey.

The yogurt itself is moderately thick in consistency, while having a pretty straight forward honey flavor. It's not overly sweet, not boldly artificial, but just right. The yogurt isn't tart (which is appreciated) and has a nice sweetness to it. I enjoyed it alongside some fresh fruit which paired perfectly.  This would be perfect straight out of the container, made into a parfait, or even served topped with some cereal (as a substitute to milk). Overall, I really enjoyed it and I'm glad to have found a honey flavored Greek yogurt that isn't an assault on my taste buds.

A serving is 100 calories or 2 points plus values.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trader Joe's Super Green Powder

Jumping on the green juice bandwagon I decided to pick up a container of the Trader Joe's Super Green Powder in an attempt give myself a little bit more of an antioxidant boost. I get in my share of fruits and vegetables daily, but I figured a little added boost wouldn't hurt.

The bottle says that a single scoop contains at least 8000 ORAC units (for example, a 3.5 oz serving of cherries has about 670 ORAC units and a 3.5 oz serving of broccoli has about 900 ORAC units). Quite a boost comparatively speaking. The container states to add a scoop to 1 cup of water, skim milk or juice. It can even be stirred or mixed in a blender for smoother consistency. It's also suggested to use the mix once daily to receive the health benefits.

On my first try I opted to go with 1 scoop into 1 cup of water. Immediately my water was transformed into a dark (but see thru) shade of green. It smelled faintly of berries, but not overwhelmingly so (say, in comparison to a Crystal Light packet). Upon first sip, I was surprised with how bland it tasted. It really tasted like nothing ... kind of like when someone adds a flavor packet of Kool-Aid into water (without any sugar added). It tastes like something, but tastes like nothing at the same time because there's no added sweetness.

Just because of that this isn't a supplement I'd suggest drinking plain in a glass of water or milk (unless you're into that flavor profile). I'd suggest mixing this into a smoothie for a little added boost that you're sneaking in. This way you're at least getting the nutrients without perhaps chugging a flavor profile you're not exceptionally excited about.
A serving, 1 scoop (10g), is 50 calories or 1 points plus values.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wendy's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad

One evening en route to our destination, my boyfriend and I popped into Wendy's to pick up dinner. Not really in the mood for a hamburger, I opted to try the Wendy's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad (Half Size Portion) (note: the salad is also sold in a full size as well).

The salad itself consists of a bed of garden salad, sliced grilled chicken, apple wood smoked bacon, BBQ chicken salad blend, sweet BBQ glaze and a side of barbecue ranch dressing. Looking at the salad one can see a blend of mixed greens, tomatoes, shredded cheese, bacon, grilled chicken, two separate sauces (one light brown, one darker brown) and sprinkled corn kernels throughout the salad. I have ordered this salad twice and have found that depending on your location the chicken may come on the salad cold whereas other locations serve it hot. Personally, I don't really care for cold chicken ... so if you're a picky eater, I'd request they heat the chicken up for you if possible (in my opinion the salad with heated chicken tasted better).

Serving wise, the half salad was good for a lighter meal - maybe something you pair alongside some fruit, etc. Whereas the full-size salad I found to be plenty satisfying and filling enough to be a main course at dinner time. Personally, I don't find the need to use the barbecue ranch dressing because there's plenty of sauce on the salad itself ... but it's good to have a packet on the side just in case you need a little extra.

Overall I really enjoyed this salad and will continue to purchase it whenever at Wendy's and in the mood for something outside of the norm.

A half size salad is 320 calories or 8 points plus values (this includes the dressing). If you decide to go without the dressing, you can subtract the 100 calories off your stats (or your 3 points plus values) making the salad WITHOUT dressing 5 points plus values.

Whereas a full size salad is 600 calories or 16 points plus values (this includes the dressing). If you decide to go without the dressing, you can subtract the 190 calories off your stats (or your 5 points plus values), making the salad WITHOUT dressing 11 points plus values.

Detox/Cleansing Water

I whipped up a pitcher of "cleansing water" to have on hand in the refrigerator. I've seen so many people talk about the benefits of drinking water which has been infused with cucumber, lemon and mint but had never given it a shot. I was a little concerned with what it would taste like, particularly because not all infused water flavors are for everyone.

Although with this particular mixture, I found it to be very refreshing. The flavors were noticeable but they were light and crisp. There was an underlying lemon, mint and cucumber flavor without either one overpowering the other. The mixture does give the water a little bit of a tinge in shade (it's still clear, but it's a little 'murky' from the flavors flavors and pulp infusing with the water).

All you do is add sliced lemon, cucumber and mint leaves to a container, fill it with water and allow it to infuse in the refrigerator overnight.

The concoction is one of the best waters to be drinking because the added items aid in digestion and cleansing. For instance:

* Cucumber is good for re-hydration and works as an anti-inflammatory.
* Mint adds sweetness without sugar and aids in digestion.
* Lemon helps cleanse the body, aids in digestion and works on boosting the immune system.

Certainly there are health benefits to adding the items to your water but it also gives a guilt-free flavor additive to your beverage without any artificial sweeteners/dyes/ etc.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Trader Joe's Grilled Chicken Strips

Every once in a while I like to have a convenience food on hand to make my meal prepping for lunches a little easier. Last time I went to the store I made sure to pick up a package of the Trader Joe's Grilled Chicken Strips. The chicken is fully cooked chicken breast, which is cut into strips and is plain ole chicken - no extravagant flavors present.
Since the chicken is already cooked, all that it requires is a couple minutes in the microwave and it's ready to serve up. What I like to do is open the package and weigh out my serving. I put the individual servings in the fridge and microwave what I need for a particular meal before I'm going to eat it. It just makes things easier to prep and divide servings.
I'm a picky eater when it comes to chicken and this is real white meat chicken breast, which pairs perfectly with whatever you decide to pair it with. I typically go with a salad or a grilled chicken salad wrap. Since it's plain it'll adapt to whatever flavors you add to it.
A serving, 3 ounces, is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Chocolate on Top - Banana

When I first heard Dannon launched a brand of Light & Fit Greek yogurt with chocolate on top I made it a priority to track them down. Dannon Light & Fit is my #1 favorite brand of Greek yogurt. So when I finally spotted the Dannon Light & Fit Greek Chocolate on Top - Banana at a local grocery store, I didn't even think twice before adding it into my grocery cart.

The yogurt is your classic, thick banana flavored Greek yogurt, which has a layer of runny chocolate over the top. Initially in my mind I thought the chocolate would be more along the lines of a ganache or even like a slightly thicker version of chocolate (like a sundae sauce).

Upon first bite, I really wasn't impressed and upon second bite I wasn't a huge fan. The chocolate completely overwhelms the flavor of the yogurt. The chocolate syrup reminds me of sugar free chocolate syrup that you'd mix with milk. The chocolate is bitter, not sweet and overpowering. I really couldn't taste the flavor of the yogurt at all when eating it together. I truly didn't enjoy it, which is saddening since I typically am a huge fan of anything Dannon pulls out of their magic hat.

Each serving is 100 calories or 3 points plus values.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pillsbury Strawberry Banana Muffins

Being the coffee lover I am, I tend to order more of the "adventurous" flavored coffees at my local coffee spot. One of my absolute favorites is the strawberry banana coffee - which is a mixture of strawberry flavored coffee and banana coffee (flavored beans, not syrups). Chatting with my boyfriend one afternoon, he had mentioned that he'd love to try a strawberry banana muffin ... and that's when the light bulb over my head lit up.

I have made banana breads with roasted strawberries in them, so I imagined it wouldn't be too difficult to make some. It just happened that I was buying ripe bananas to make a banana bread to give to my dad for his birthday. Since I had extra bananas I looked for a muffin recipe online and stumbled upon one from Pillsbury ... and that's when the Strawberry Banana Muffins came to life (and a double batch at that!).

Whipping the batter up was a breeze, baking was a breeze and consuming was a breeze. I made enough to send some home with my boyfriend, to share with family and to bring some in to share with my coworkers. They had the classic chewiness that comes with muffins, but it had that banana bread flare. The fresh strawberries running throughout the batter was a nice twist. Overall these muffins were a total hit and everyone that had one (or two, or three) enjoyed them immensely.

Each muffin is 210 calories or 6 points plus values.

You can find the recipe here on the Pillsbury website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Lemon Twist Oreo's

One evening at a local grocery store, I stumbled across Lemon Twist Oreo's. I was on the fence as to if I wanted to try them because I had tried the Lemon Golden Oreo's and completely loved them ... but I was more concerned about the chocolate cookies hell mixing with a lemon cream center.

Let me say this ... don't let contemplating mixing lemon and chocolate together stop you because this isn't a horrendous experience!

Fortunately any concern I had was short lived because these are quite good. I'd coin these as the chocolate daddy to the lemon Oreo. There is certainly a lemon flavor to these, but it's very light and rather refreshing. The chocolate cookie itself helps cut back at the lemony zip making it a unique and refreshing flavor category. The lemon pop isn't as in-your-face as it is with the Golden Lemon Oreo's, but these certainly stand on their own.

Overall, I'd say these are pretty fabulous and worth the shot.

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

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fiber One Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

I feel like my area was the last one to get in the Fiber One Strawberry Cheesecake Bars. Typically I'm a fan of Fiber One products, but I eat their products very sparingly because the added fiber in their products can give me a world of a tummy ache. But low and behold after spotting them at Target I picked up a box (these also come in Salted Caramel).

The cheesecake bars themselves are the same size as all other Fiber One products. There's not much else to say about these other than the fact they do really taste like cheesecake. They have that crumbly crust, soft gooeyish enter with a nice jelly consistency strawberry jam running down the top of it. They're mildly sweet, but certainly not sweet enough to overwhelm the taste buds.  A few folks have said putting them in the refrigerator only intensifies the cheesecake experience.

Overall, these are quite good. They do give you that cheesecake vibe without the absorbent amount of calories/points your average cheesecake brings to the table. So, that alone is a win in my book.
A serving is 150 calories or 4 points plus values.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dunkin Donuts Chips Ahoy Iced Coffee

I am a huge coffee fan ... but I am also a little bit of a coffee snob. I have a favorite local coffee shop that makes coffee from flavored beans. That is until my boyfriend turned me onto Dunkin Donuts Chips Ahoy Iced Coffee.
Initially I was hesitant because I don't really enjoy sugary syrups in my coffee (for instance, if I do get syrup in coffee it's sugar free). But I have to say, this particular coffee has completely turned my coffee world upside down. The coffee is sweetened with a syrup, but there's chocolate syrup that is squirted into the bottom of the cup - which upon first sip REALLY gives you the illusion of biting into a chocolate chip cookie.
The coffee is sweet, chocolatey, and reminiscent of a cookie. Utterly delicious and so worth the splurge in calories/points plus values. I find the flavor lasts through the entire coffee. Although I also found it can be fast lived if you don't stir it up a bit and end up drinking up the syrup and chocolate sauce before really digging into the coffee itself (considering the layers can seperate a bit). Overall this is a complete home run, game changing coffee.

A large ice coffee (without any milk or added sugar) is 200 calories or 5 points plus values. I typically order my iced coffee with a little bit of skim milk so I call the whole coffee 5 points plus values.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Trader Joe's This "Fig Walks Into a Bar" Cereal Bars

Every once in a while I'm in the mood for a cereal bar. Typically I don't purchase them because I don't find them to be satisfying enough of a snack, but on one trip I decided to pick up a box of the Trader Joe's This "Fig Walks Into a Bar" Cereal Bars. I had run out of my Nature Box fig bars and decided to try something different.

These fig bars are your traditional cereal bar, smaller in size, but they offer a soft, slightly crumbly crust surrounding the soft and gooey fig center. They're really along the lines of a Fig Newton if they were laid 2-3 back to back. In comparison to a fig newton they're definitely a lot softer. Some of the packages after opening it was found that the fig center had sweat a bit, making the cereal bar crust a little softer and appeared to be wetter. Nothing detrimental or nothing that took away from the product.

Taste wise they taste just like a fig flavored cereal bar. There's nothing surprising about them. They're a good product and a decent snack to have to switch things up and make them interesting from time to time.

A serving, 1 bar, is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Longhorn's Balsamic Raspberry Seared Chicken

I don't eat out very often, but when I do I make sure to check the restaurants website to see if any nutrition information is available. One afternoon I went to a local Longhorn with my father to celebrate Father's Day. Before I left the house I had decided I was going to order the Longhorn Balsamic Raspberry Seared Chicken.

The menu described the meal as "fresh chicken breasts topped with white wine butter, balsamic-raspberry drizzle and goat cheese crumbles. Served with choice of fresh green beans or broccoli." As for my side, I opted for my side of broccoli plain (with no butter on it). I am not too sure if there is a difference between the lunch time menu and the dinner, I couldn't find any different nutrition facts online.

The dish itself was quite delicious! The balsamic glaze paired perfectly with the raspberry and goat cheese. The raspberries were a little too much for my palette to accept, so I picked them off and discarded them. It wasn't that they were gross, but it was just the texture of the berries (they got softer because they were on top and around the hot chicken). The chicken was moist, the glaze was flavorful without being overwhelming and the goat cheese provided a very rich and creamy layer to the dish. The creaminess helped offset some of the "zippiness" from the balsamic glaze and even the raspberries alike.

I found it to be very satisfying and I would ultimately order it again next time I'm at a Longhorn.

The dish is 540 calories or 13 points plus values.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chips Ahoy! Limited Edition Chocolate Banana

While at the grocery store I spotted a new cookie and decided to give it a try. The fact that it had banana in it, is truly what sold me ... so I welcomed a package of Chips Ahoy! Limited Edition Chocolate Banana cookies into my grocery cart with open arms.

Unfortunately the cookies didn't merely live up to the expectation built up in my head. I was expecting a strong robust banana flavor which was only intensified by the chocolate chips. But ... they were really a huge fail for me. The cookies themselves are along the lines of rather artificial banana flavor mixed in with your average Chips Ahoy! cookie. These are a crunchy cookie, like the standard Chips Ahoy! not the chewy variety. I truly wasn't a fan .. I had one cookie out of the whole package before "forcing" them upon my guests to try/eat/sample/take home.

Sadly these were a fail ... I guess if I really want a potentially delicious chocolate chip banana cookie I may have to just get adventurous in the kitchen.

A serving, 2 cookies, is 160 calories or 4 points plus values.

Weight Watchers Chicken Burgers

I feel like it's been ages since Weight Watchers launched frozen chicken products in local grocery stores. I remember when they first launched I was excited to give them a try. I've since purchased a few packages of the Weight Watchers Chicken Burgers (note: these are now sold in resealable plastic zipper top bags). One afternoon I pulled the box out of the freezer and cooked the chicken burgers up as part of a quick "meal prep" to have some cooked protein on hand.
The packaging used to be in big bulky boxes, with an inner package containing the frozen chicken burgers/chicken strips. But I've seen slimmer packaging (like plastic bag containers) in the local grocery stores these days, which definitely makes storing a lot easier and less spacious.
The burgers are formed and ready to be cooked. I chose to cook them on top of the stove, seasoning one side with some hamburger seasoning. They cooked up easily and were quite satisfying. The chicken remained moist without drying out and were flavorful.  Adding a little ketchup, mustard, onion, lettuce and tomato to a sandwich I definitely didn't miss the beef. These were one of the better frozen chicken burgers I have tried out on the market. The best part is these are readily available in my area to be purchased, unlike some other brands.
Each chicken burger is 140 calories or 3 points plus values.

Rockstar Roasted with Almond Milk - Light Vanilla

I've been on an energy drink kick as of late so while at the store I noticed a line of coffee beverages, the one that particularly caught my interest was the one made with almond milk. I happen to be a huge coffee fan so of course I had to pick up a can of the Rockstar Roasted with Almond Milk - Light Vanilla after spotting it on a local grocers shelf.

Evidently these canned coffee beverages have been out for a while, but it was the first time I had ever laid eyes upon them. I went for the light vanilla because it was made with almond milk and because it wasn't too bad calorie wise (I don't necessarily like to throw my calories/points plus values away on beverages). 

The drink itself is very good. I stashed my can in the refrigerator overnight and the next morning it was perfect for my early morning pick me up while at work. It's lightly sweetened, has enough almond milk in it to change the color of the coffee (it's a lighter brown color), and has a very smooth vanilla flavor to it. It's quite refreshing, particularly when in a pinch where I don't have a coffee in hand (or essentially the things I need to make myself a coffee to my liking on hand). 

A serving, 8 ounces, is 60 calories or 1 points plus values or the whole can is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Trader Joe's Wine Country Chicken Salad

While at the grocery store one afternoon, they happened to be sampling the Trader Joe's Wine Country Chicken Salad. I'm a fan of chicken salad, but after experimenting with the reduced fat chicken salad I decided to give it a whirl with the real thing ... and I'm glad that I did.

I'm pretty finicky when it comes to chicken salads, so I was pretty surprised with how much I enjoyed this one. The salad itself is chalk full of chunks of white meat chicken, pecan pieces, celery, poppy seeds and cranberries. The dressing that is used is sweeter but not so sweet that it's overwhelming. All the flavors blend together nicely and make for a perfect little dish, especially on a hot day where no one really wants to spend time in the kitchen.

Consistency wise, this is a looser chicken salad. The dressing is runnier, but it's not so runny that it's a sloppy mess. I found I enjoyed this the best over a bed of garden salad. The dressing on the chicken alone was enough where I didn't need any added salad dressing.

I will say, out of the serving that I had I only found one small piece of cartilage on the chicken (which unfortunately, is pretty common with chicken salad or even grilled chicken out at a restaurant). The piece was really small and was the only piece in the entire container, so I can't knock anyone down for points on that one. Overall, I quite enjoyed this and found the cranberries and pecan pieces to be a home run regarding flavor.

A serving, 4 ounces (113g), is 230 calories or 6 points plus values.