Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Taste Test Tuesday: Greek Sesame Pizza

I was really in the mood for pizza when I went grocery shopping the other day. I was meandering about in the frozen food aisle when this caught my attention, A.C. La Rocco Greek Sesame Pizza. The box looked great...plus it was made with whole grain and had a lot of fiber. It had some great toppings too...sun dried tomatoes and artichokes...yum!

Cost: 5.99
Serving Size: 1/3 of the pizza
Calories: 250
Fat: 8g
Carbs: 40g
Fiber: 9g
Sugar: 3g
Protein: 12g
My Rating: 3 out of 5

I took the pizza out of the plastic wrap and was a little disappointed. The toppings looked scarce. Maybe all those yummy toppings were hidden under the cheese? I guess I'd have to wait to find out. Also, the pizza was a little smaller than I expected it to be. I thought I'd have to eat the whole thing...but I definitely didn't want to eat 3 servings! The pizza was ready and I sliced away. I guess the toppings weren't hidden under the cheese. The amount of cheese was adequate, but there were hardly any sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, olives, or sesame seeds. I mean...isn't this called Greek Sesame Pizza? But I took a bite of the pizza and it was pretty good. The crust was hearty and tasted fiber packed. The sauce and cheese were a little above average a frozen pizza. The good part was that I was full after eating 2 servings. All that fiber really does fill you up! I would probably try another one of their other types of pizzas if it was on sale.

Monday, July 28, 2008

King Corn

This Saturday I was watching TV and watching some horrible new reality show on MTV. My brain was telling me I needed to watch something that I could learn from. So I went over to my computer and opened up my Netflix account to see if there was anything interesting I could watch from my laptop. My eyes caught on King Corn. It was rated 4 stars, and it was about 2 friends who move to Iowa to grow an acre of corn and follow it to where it ended up. Sounded interesting to me (I know I'm a dork...haha), so I decided to watch it.

The documentary was great! I would give it 4 stars for sure. It was well made and the guys who made the film put a lot of research into it. They decided to make the movie based on the book, The Omnivore's Dilemma (one of my favorites!). They even interviewed the author, Michael Pollan. The movie was a really in depth look at the farming life, and how almost all of the corn grown in that region isn't even edible. Most corn goes to animal feed (which is horrible), and corn based products such as high fructose corn syrup (also horrible). I highly recommend the film! It's available on Netflix to watch instantly or have shipped, plus you can check the King Corn website for other ways to get your hands on this informative documentary.

The pic: The corn tastes like sawdust!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Taste Test Tuesday: No Pudge Brownies

I was enjoying one of my new favorite pastimes, browsing the aisles of Publix Greenwise, when I spotted a mix for No Pudge Fat Free Brownies. My mind was racing, I knew I've heard great things of these before. I deliberated for a second...should I get the Original, Mint Fudge, or Cappuccino Fudge? Since I had never tried these before, I opted for the Original Fudge. I began to read the instructions for the brownies, and all it needed was fat free vanilla yogurt (I had plain yogurt and vanilla extract at home, so I decided to use that). I was slightly baffled, but was ready to give it a go.

Cost: 3.99
Serving Size: 1/12 portion
Calories: 110
Fat: 0g
Carbs: 28g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 22g
Protein: 2g
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I got home and immediately broke out the brownie mix. Just dump in a bowl, add the yogurt, and mix. How simple is that! The mix is super thick though, and my arms definitely got a work out. After baking in the oven for 34 minutes in an 8x8 dish, the brownies were ready. I let them cool for about 10 minutes, which was really hard to do! I attempted to cut them into 12 equal pieces according to the serving size. Since it was a Saturday...I let myself have 2 pieces..woohoo! I was impressed my the look of them. They looked moist and fudgy. Then I took a bite...it was SO good! The only reason I didn't give it a 5 was because it's a little bit too sweet (there are 22g of sugar per serving which is pretty high). But the chocolate flavor was great and the brownie was super moist and fudgy, just like it looked. I would have never guessed it was fat free! I will definitely be buying these again and again and again.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pour on some Country Bob's

The nice people over at Country Bob's sent me a couple bottles of their All Purpose Sauce to try out. It came with a recipe brochure, so I picked out a recipe that sounded good...the Honolulu burger. The burger came out great. The cheddar & pineapple worked really well with the All Purpose Sauce. The sauce tastes like a mild steak sauce. It's a little sweet, a little tangy and well spiced. My only issue is that the sauce has high fructose corn syrup as its second ingredient. I wish they could make their sauce with something else. HFCS is very very bad...anyway...that will be a different post.

Honolulu Burger
1 lb ground beef (I used lean)
4 hamburger buns
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices pineapple
1/4 cup Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

Form the ground beef into 4 even patties. Cook them on the grill or skillet (I used a cast iron skillet and they came out really well, nice crust on the outside, juicy on the inside). When they have about 1 minute left of cooking, evenly distribute the sauce on to each patty. Then place on the cheddar and the pineapple slice. Plop it on the bun and enjoy!

*UPDATE! Country Bob's no longer uses Corn Syrup!*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Taste Test Tuesday: Adora Calcium Supplements

I recently saw these Adora Dark Chocolate Calcium Supplements when I was in a vitamin store the other day. I was looking for a way to supplement my calcium. The bag does say "Calcium the gourmet way". So I figured, why not? Plus, I LOVE Dark Chocolate.

Cost: 6.99 for one package (30 disks)
Serving Size: 1 disk (500 mg calcium)
Calories: 30
Fat: 2g
Carbs: 3g
Fiber: 0g
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 0g
My Rating: 5 out of 5

I opened up the package and broke out a disk. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a hard chocolate and not chewy like other calcium supplements I tried. The trick for enjoying dark chocolate is to let it melt in your mouth...so that's what I did. It was just like a piece of dark chocolate! I couldn't believe it. It tastes very similar to a Hershey's Special Dark. I was very impressed. The only bad thing is that you can't have more than 2 a day because of the amount of calcium. I am very impressed by Adora and will continue to buy these. They are the best tasting calcium supplements I've ever had. They also come in Milk Chocolate.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fort Lauderdale: Taverna Opa

Food: 3.5 out of 5
Service: 1 out of 5

Saturday night was my sister's birthday! She wanted to go to a fun place for her big 2-6. We thought Taverna Opa would be a great choice since it's very lively and conveniently close to my house.

We arrived at the restaurant at our reservation time and were told by the hostess that it would be a few minutes. It had just rained so I knew they had to get rid of some outside seating they were counting on. Twenty minutes later, no sign of a table. I finally found the hostess and she said it would be a "few more minutes". Well...if a "few" is 20 minutes then I won't be happy. But we were seated pretty quickly after that.

Our apps(from left to right) Meatballs, Hummus, Greek Salad

We did not get menus. I knew that on Friday & Saturday nights they have a set menu. I had looked online, and the cheapest option was $25. Being that there were 10 of us and various income levels I'm sure, I already looked and decided on the $25. With that said...the waiter came by and started explaining to the table the $45 menu only and exclaimed how wonderful it was. When I asked about the $25, he told me it was not good at all and not enough food. He said that the $45 was much better. I told him again I wanted the $25 menu. He then told me again that it was a bad decision. This went on for about 2 minutes...I was fuming!! Plus...he did not even ask us if we wanted drinks. We had to get all our drinks from the bar. The bartender was the only good service of the whole night! Our server was insanely incompetent. I wish I remembered his name because I would have mentioned it...so everyone reading this could avoid him...but so you know, he was a middle aged, short, stocky jerk-off who was obviously suffering from a bad case of Napoleon Complex. I was trying not to show my anger at the restaurant because I didn't want him to spit in my food. Okay, now I think I'm done venting.

My Gyro...yes there is pita bread underneath all that

The food came...lots of food! "Not Enough" my a$$! First we got some warm pita bread and a make your own hummus with chickpeas, olive oil and spices served in a mortar in pestle so you would grind it up yourself. It was good, but I like the creaminess of regular hummus better. We also got a greek salad, meatballs, stuffed grape leaves, saganaki (the flaming cheese!), and an assortment of dips. Those were just the appetizers! My favorite was the cheese. It had great flavor and was hot and melty. The meatballs were dry. Most of the dips were good. They were tzatziki, baba ganoush (eggplant), and some kind of fish. This fish one was too fishy tasting. But the baba ganoush was delicious. Obviously all these appetizers take up a lot of space on the table, but the servers didn't clear the table even once! Then our entrees came, I got a Gyro. It was tasty, but I was too full to eat. I only ate about 1/4 of it. It tasted like mostly beef, and it looked more like a thinly sliced sausage than being sliced from a big slab of meat. I would have also liked to be able to pick it up to eat it, but there was alot of fillings and picking it up was not a good idea.

We didn't have dessert, but we did have a really good time dancing. At Taverna Opa, they play really loud pop, Latin, and Greek music. They also let you throw napkins everywhere and dance on the tables. It's worth it to go once for a big celebration, but the service was so horrible I would not go back.

Our table after the napkin throwing

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yummy Chicken Salad

My favorite apple is the Granny Smith. It's tangy and not too sweet. I had a couple of these and used 1 to make my waffles. I thought the other would be really good in Chicken Salad. I looked around my fridge and saw some blue cheese (I had a lot left after practicing for the Pillsbury Bake-Off). My mouth started watering...blue cheese and apples would be really good together. It came out very well and even a little bit healthy. The flavors meld well together, and its great to have the contrast of textures between the chicken and the apples. Here is the recipe, it makes about 4 servings.

Apple Chicken Salad

2 Cooked chicken breasts, diced
1/2 of a Granny Smith apple, diced
1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/3 cup light mayo
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Just combine everything and enjoy! I've been eating it on top of salads and as a sandwich with whole wheat bread.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Taste Test Tuesday: Bolthouse Farms Dressing

I was really excited to see Bolthouse Farms Caesar Parmigiano in the produce section of the new Publix Greenwise in Boca. The nutritional info was promising and it says all natural on the label. This nutritional info is for 1 serving, which is 2 tablespoons.

Cost: $3.49
Calories: 80
Fat: 6.5g
Carbs: 3g
Fiber: 0g
Sugar: 1g
Protein: 1g
My Rating: 5 out of 5

My favorite dressing is Blue Cheese (which I wanted to try, but they ran out of it). This was the second best choice for me, Caesar Parmigiano. The made with yogurt thing was a little bit scary, but I have recently learned that making savory recipes with a good non-fat yogurt actually turns out really well! Anyway...I cracked open the bottle and poured some over my salad. I was really impressed! The dressing was creamy and peppery. You could really taste the parmesan and asiago cheese. The yogurt gives it a slightly tangy taste, which I really liked. This is a delicious dressing and tastes full fat to me. I can't wait to try the other flavors (Blue Cheese here I come!). These dressings are a little hard to find, so make sure to check out their handy Store Locator to find out which grocery store near you carries it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

NYC: Pizza & Ethiopian

My 2nd day in New York City was here. What good things will I eat today? For lunch, I was definitely going to have pizza or hot dogs. For dinner, I wanted something really unique. I ended up making reservations for Queen of Sheba, an Ethiopian Restaurant.

I was perusing our new Manhattan map, which was very helpful! It listed all the streets and subway stops. We were both starving and needed a quick fix for lunch. We discovered that the PATH train stopped right by one of the NYC pizza staples, Famous Ray's in Greenwich Village. It's a small, simple place. You order at the counter and hopefully find a place to sit. There are about 5 tables and counter space for about 15 people. The pizza was really delicious. The crust was super thin (of course). The sauce tasted fresh and light. It had the perfect amount of cheese. Too bad you can't get too many pizzas like that in Florida...I think it's the sauce. But it could be the NYC water, which a lot of people claim is the reason it's so good.

After a great day of window shopping and visiting Central Park, it was time to eat dinner. I was so excited to go to Queen of Sheba! I had never tried Ethiopian food before. All I kind of knew is that you ate with your hands, picking up some kind of stewed meat with the pancake-like "plate". We stepped into the restaurant and were quickly seated at a table. It's a small place, but it was very packed. The menu had a big selection of entrees that were all reasonably priced (from $14 - $17). But my eyes went to the entree, Taste of Sheba, which had a sampling of it's favorite dishes. Ten minutes after we ordered, the dish came out. It was huge! The pancake must have had a 20 inch diameter. On the pancake were all the samplings, seven to be exact. Five were beef, two were lamb. I enjoyed all of them, but there were a couple which were outstanding. My two favorite were the Mechet Abesh Wot (ground beef cooked in green pepper sauce with garlic and ginger) and the Bozena Shiro (finely diced beef simmered in chickpea gravy). They serve you pancakes to eat on the side as well. The texture was very similar to a crepe, with a tangy taste. You just tear a piece off, and use it to scoop up your meat. It was a little messy, but fun. If you're in NYC, definitely check this place out if you're feeling adventurous.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Taste Test Tuesday: Luna Bar PB Cookie

The tagline of the Luna Bar is "The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women". It does have a good amount of vitamins and minerals and a good ration of protein, carbs and fat. It's also 100% natural which is always a plus. They are a good item to have on hand for a healthy snack.

Cost: .99 for one bar
Calories: 180
Fat: 6g
Carbs: 23g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 12g
Protein: 10g
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I'm all about a quick breakfast, so you'll probably see a lot of nutrition bars on here for my taste tests. This morning, I grabbed a Peanut Butter Cookie Luna Bar out of my stash for the week. The size is what I would expect for a bar with 180 calories (about 5" x 3"). It's enough to satisfy you for a couple hours. The bar contains soy protein crisps with a thin bottom layer of a yogurt-type coating. The bar has a nice, crisp texture. There is a peanut butter flavor, but it's not as strong as I would have liked. Also, the term "cookie" is a little bit misleading. The texture resembles rice krispies rather than a cookie. Maybe a better name would be Peanut Butter Crisp. But it is a very good snack bar and I'll keep trying new flavors (which there are alot of!)....what's your favorite flavor??