Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt Strawberry

The Stonyfield’s Strawberry Oikos is rich and creamy with fresh tasting strawberry jam on the bottom for a stir in. Lives up the the standards of the Oikos name. Winner all around. One of my favorite flavored Greek yogurts because the strawberry flavor is fresh and not artificial tasting at all. Thick and creamy as always. Keep these delicious flavors coming out. May I suggest pineapple for a new flavor?

One 5.3 oz cup serving is 120 calories, 2 WW, no fat, no cholesterol, 80 milligram of sodium, 190 milligram of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, no dietary fiber, 16 grams of sugar and 13 grams of protein.

As some of you may know, I tend to strain my own Greek yogurt from regular plain non-fat yogurts since I find it much cheaper that way. I normally just strain the yogurt overnight in a coffee filter, but there was one time where I was away for a few days and left the yogurt in the fridge, still straining for approximately 3 days. I came home to a wonderful surprise because A LOT of liquid came out and the yogurt became  super thick — like soft cream cheese. It even had a faint cream cheese taste to it too and it was absolutely DELICIOUS. Did I just make yogurt cheese by accident? I have been enjoying my yogurt a lot that way lately. Curiosity struck me and I wondered what would happened if I strain Greek yogurt instead. Will any liquid come out since Greek yogurt is already strained?

I did exactly that and strain 1 container (5.3 oz) of strawberry Oikos overnight in a coffee filter. Only a little bit of liquid came out and it was not as thick as I had hoped. Next time I might consider straining it for a few days. Will I get instant strawberry “cheesecake” that way?

I had hoped for instant strawberry “cheesecake”, but that was not what I got, just a slightly thicker version of strawberry Oikos, but it was much tarter than usual. I wanted cheesecake and I wanted it BAD so I made my own version with what I had lying around the house. A packet of stevia, some fat-free cream cheese, a bag of Annie’s Bunny Grahams plus some strained strawberry Oikos = some delicious strawberry cheesecake tarts. The stevia compensates for the tartness of the strained yogurt, the fat-free cream cheese compensates for actual “cheese taste” in cream cheese, and I picked Annie’s Bunny Grahams because it taste good and does not have trans fat like most other graham crackers on the market.

Lazy Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe:

– 1 container (5.3 oz) Strawberry Oikos
-  4 tablespoon of Fat Free Cream Cheese
-  1 bag (28g) of Annie Bunny Grahams
- 1 packet of Stevia (or any sweetener of your choice)
-  Optional: Garnish with slices of fresh strawberries

Directions: Strap a coffee filter over a large mug with a rubber band. Empty Contents into the coffee filter. Cover the mug with saran wrap and let sit in the fridge overnight.

Next day, mix in 4 tablespoon of room temperature fat-free cream cheese with the strained strawberry Oikos and the packet of stevia until evenly blended.

For the crust, pulverize the Annie’s Bunnie Grahams in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin. A of can soup or a jar of salsa will work if you do not have a rolling pin. Split the “crust dust” into 2 silicone bake cups and smooth it out. Next, split the cream cheese and strawberry Oikos mixture into the two cups as well.

Freeze for a hour. Remove from silicone cup and place them on a pretty plate. Garish with 1/2 a slice of fresh strawberry on each if desire when ready to serve. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes for a slightly less frozen texture.

Recipe makes two servings and is approximately 145 calories per serving.

Calorie Breakdown:
1 Strawberry Oikos Strained: approx 110 calories or less
1 bag (28g) of Annie’s Bunny Grahams : 120 calories
4 tablespoon fat-free cream cheese: 60 calories
1 packet Stevia: 0 calories
1 Medium Strawberry (optional): 4 calories

Consider this as my official entry for the Stonyfield Oikos contest

http://www.facebook.com/oikos


Retails: $1.99 per 5.3 oz cup @ Whole Foods
My Cost: Free (w/ coupon from Stonyfield representative)
Calories: 110 per 5.3 oz cup
WW: 2

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Filed under Organic, Whole Foods, WW: 2

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps

Marisa from Trim the Fat always features these as a part of her snacks and now she even has them as a part of her Blogoversary giveaway. I was not the lucky winner, but that did not stop me from trying them out.  From the box, you can already tell that these are chocolate crisps similar to the shape of Pringles. I was expecting chocolate crisps the size of Pringles so I was slightly disappointed that they are a mini version — about 1/2 the size of a regular Pringle chip. The taste reminds me like Nestle Crunch bars, except much thinner. There are “crisps” in it just like in Nestle Crunch. Of course, I am assuming that the closer version will be the Milk Chocolate variety of these chocolate crisps. Half a serving of 6 pieces is a nice little treat already and only 110 calories worth in chocolate. Small portioned chocolate makes me happy. Thin chocolate is surprisingly very enjoyable.

Perfectly segregated into 3 sections with 12 piece in each little cabby. I have trouble remembering which side faces up and chocolate ends up on the floor. I may or may not have practiced the 5 second rule. Only 3 serving per box so these go pretty fast if you are not the only one eating these. My box was attacked by a hungry beast and did not stand a chance.

No artificial color or flavors and no preservatives.

On the box:
We’ve got a delectable sweet treat. Our dark Chocolate Crisps are wisp of rich, Belgian chocolate, curved for visual interest, and infused with crunchy bits to add some texture. These Crisps are definitely in!

One serving is of 12 pieces (42g) is 220 calories, 5 WW, 13 grams of fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.

Ingredients: Dark Chocolate (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, soy lecitin, natural vanilla flavor) Puffed Rice (rice flour, sugar, barley malt extract, salt, calcium carbonate, rapeseed oil, soy lecithin) Cocoa Solids 57% minimum.

Retails: $2.49 per 4.4 oz @ Trader Joe’s
My Cost: $2.49
Calories: 210 per serving (12 pieces)
WW: 5

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Filed under Candy, Chocolate, Trader Joe's, WW: 5

Yummy Earth Lollipops

Picture 302Yes, I am still rocking my lovely stash of Halloween candy. Well, technically, these are not leftover Halloween candy because I got them post Halloween. They were on sale at Whole Foods for only $2.99 since Halloween was over and no body wants to keep Halloween marked items on their shelves. The same bag of 60 lollipops (with regular packaging) was still selling for the full price of $6.69. Never one to pass up a good deal, I grabbed a bag. I remember I tried Yummy Earth Lollipops before and I liked them enough to repurchase. Last time I was only able to try 3 flavors so I was quite excited to get the full spectrum of their fruit lollipops this time.

One thing I dislike about the Yummy Earth Lollipops is that they do not have an even distribution of their flavors. No tooberry blueberry, strawberry smash  and only one sour apple tart (which happen to be my favorite). My bag was dominated by googly grape, very very cherry, and wet face watermelon (so much for getting the “full spectrum” of their flavors).  Good to know (via amazon) that Yummy Earth knows about this situation and is coming out with a more even distribution soon. (Well, at least for their 5 lb bags and 150 count bins).

Mango Tango: Interesting mix of clear orange and solid yellow color– like a tied-dyed t-shirt. Sour and tangy. Faintly resembles mango flavor. More “tango” than mango.

Very Very Cherry: Delicious cherry flavor with no medicinal aftertaste like some other cherry flavor candies

TooBerry Blueberry: None  in the bag for me.

Wet-Face Watermelon: A little bit sour. The watermelon flavor needs a little bit more refining, but still good. The flavor tasted the most “artificial” of the bunch.

Googly Grape: Good ‘ol grape flavor. Like they turned a glass of grape juice into a lollipop form.

Sour Apple Tart: I like the taste of sweet and tart together. At first, I mistake the flavor to be pear. Very refreshing. My favorite flavor in the bag!

Pomegranate Pucker: Not POM Wonderful tasting pomegranate flavor, but will suffice. Among the more tart tasting flavor, but still delicious.

Smash Strawberry: Sadly, my bag had none.

As always, Yummy Earth Lollipops are Gluten-free, Certified Organic, 100% Vegan, No Artificial Dyes, No Chemicals, 100% Natural Flavors, GMO-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Wheat-free, Dairy-free, Casein-free, No Corn Syrup and made with real fruit juices. Great for kids (and adults) who have very specific dietary needs. Great portion control since each sucker is the size of an inflated quarter and only about 23 calories each. Colored with real fruit juices. Cute names that your kids will surely be fond of.

From the site (under where to buy): “We are also big fans of Trader Joe’s Organic Pops and Drops and we suggest you try some if you live near a Trader Joe’s store! Are you hinting something to us? If you are, we hear you loud and clear! *wink wink*

One serving (3 lollipops) is 70 calories, 1 WW, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, no fiber, 17 grams of sugar, no protein.

Ingredients: Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Non GMO Citric Acid, Organic & Natural Flavors (May contain Watermelon, Pomegranate, Orange Oils, Lemon Oils, Raspberry, Mango), Organic & Natural Colors, (may contain Red Cabbage, Purple Carrots, Turmeric, Annatto).

Retails: $6.69 per 60 pcs bag @ Whole Foods
My Cost:  on sale $2.99 (post Halloween)
Calories: 70 calories per 3 lollipops ( or 23 calories each)
WW: 1

If you have 6 minutes and 15 minutes to spare, check out this video to catch a glimpse of the Yummy Earth Lollipop making process:

[Source]

P.S: Check out these awesome giveaways:
Relief Beads, Batter Blaster, Sahale Snacks & Heart Thrive


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Filed under Candy, Organic, Whole Foods, WW: 1

Vita-Mix Contest

VitamixVita-Mix Announces “Pitch Me!” Video Contest to Find the Next TV Infomercial Star

OLMSTED FALLS, OH – November 12, 2009 – Credited with creating the very first infomercial in the U.S. , Vita-Mix, the world leader in high-performance blending equipment, today announces “Pitch Me!” —a national video competition to discover the next great Vita-Mix TV demonstration star. The winner, voted on by the public and chosen by Vita-Mix, receives a Grand Prize of $10,000 and may star in upcoming Vita-Mix television commercials and web-based videos.

Participants must showcase their skills with a Vita-Mix blender and are judged on their video’s creativity, popularity and overall quality. As the competition progresses, Vita-Mix will air highly-rated submissions on national commercials, to drum up support for the leading videos and further publicize the contest. Vita-Mix is offering over $20,000 in total prizes including the single Grand Prize of $10,000 cash.

In 1949, Vita-Mix created the world’s first television infomercial during which Vita-Mix Founder William G. “Papa” Barnard demonstrated everything the Vita-Mix machine could do and began America ’s love affair with the infomercial. A commitment to personal demonstration continues to guide Vita-Mix’s marketing efforts to the present day; Vita-Mix demonstrates its professional-quality machines in over 2,000 shows every year in the U.S. alone.

The newest Vita-Mix machines certainly lend themselves to demonstration since they do the work of 10 kitchen appliances and perform over 50 different processes. These include five that no other single kitchen appliance can execute as flawlessly: making ice cream, grinding grains to make flour, kneading dough, making whole food juice, even making piping hot soups heated by nothing more than the blades spinning at 240 MPH.

For more information on “Pitch Me!” or to submit a video, visit www.vitamixtv.com.

Hope one on you guys win, especially those of you who rock at doing Vlogging!

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Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate 88%

Picture 240This has got to be the darkest dark chocolate I have ever tired to date. A whopping 88% cocoa dark. Barely even sweet which I am not really use to for chocolate. Silky smooth, with an intense dark chocolate richness, but has a slight bitter aftertaste. Satisfied my chocolate craving, but not my sugar craving. Don’t really need 1/2 a bar to be satisfied. I was content with 1 to 2 square and each square is about 30-ish calories.  The whole bar consists of 15 squares that you can break apart and enjoy.  The more I ate it, the more I enjoy it. I thought dark chocolate is suppose to be good for you, but I was surprised that there are 12 grams of saturated fat per serving. Planning to melt this and make some pseudo Edible Arrangements with this since I think the sweetness from the fruit will pair nicely with this extreme 88% cocoa.

From the site:

Extreme Dark Chocolate (88% Cocoa Content)
This 3oz. dark chocolate bar is made with all-natural, shade-grown, ethically traded, single-origin extreme dark chocolate. At 88% cocoa content, it is one of the highest cocoa content chocolate bars available with a smooth, not overly bitter flavor. The black panther image and information is printed on recycled 30% post-consumer FSC certified paper. The chocolate is ethically or fairly traded guaranteeing the workers fair wages and humane working conditions. This product is also certified Kosher by Orthodox Union, vegan by Vegan Action and gluten-free by Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Inside specially marked HOPE wrappers, look for a code to earn HOPE points at itstimeforhope.com where you can win coupons, gift cards and charitable donations.

Dark Chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or higher), like our Extreme Dark Chocolate bar, has been found to have many health benefits. The more pure and natural the dark chocolate, the better.

On the Endangered Species Chocolate website, there is a current promotion going on for the Organic Bliss 1.4 oz bars. Only 0.49 cents each. Great way to sample all 4 flavors to find the one you like the best. Flavors include: Organic Dark Chocolate with Blueberries, Smooth Organic Dark Chocolate, Organic Dark Chocolate with Cherries, and Organic Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter.

Get your chocolate fix while helping out the Endangered Species too! 10% of net profits donated to help support species, habitat and humanity. Good cause.

One serving of 1/2 bar (42 g) is 210 calories, 5 WW, 20 grams of fat of which 12 grams are saturated, no cholesterol, no sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

Ingredients: Dark Chocolate, [Chocolate Liquor, Unbleached Water Filtered Beet Sugar, Soy Lecithin, and Vanilla]

Question:

How dark do you like your dark chocolate?

Personally, I think I am more of a 72% to 78% cocoa content person.

Retails: $2.69 per 3 oz bar @ Whole Foods
My Cost: Free (won Leftovers for Lunch giveaway)
Calories: 210 per 1/2 bar
WW: 5

P.S: Check out these awesome giveaways:
MixMyGranola, Food Should Taste Good, Twilight, Popcorn & Progresso

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Filed under Chocolate, Whole Foods, WW: 5

Spaghetti Squash

IMG_1608Craving some saucey pasta, but don’t have the caloric budget for a full blown pasta dish? Then please welcome this glorious spaghetti squash into your life. Takes little to no effort to cook (your oven does the cooking), and is very versatile in your everyday meals. You can bake it, steam it, boil it, karate chop, and kung-fu it any way you like — just cook it.

Usually there are stickers on squashes to tell you how to prepare them, but this one did not. Chef Google told me to slice it in half vertically, clean out the seeds, and bake it face down in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes at an oven of 375 degrees. I followed the directions, but since my squash was pretty large, it needed an extra 10 minutes or so. It came out beautifully. Once the squash is fully cooked, use a fork and start scraping it. Golden strands will fall out and there you have it — spaghetti squash noodles. Collect it in a bowl and use it anyway you like. They store and reheat very well.

A popular way to use it is of course in place of pasta noodles. Half a cup of pasta sauce (50 calories), one cup of spaghetti squash (42 calories) and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (10 calories) and you have your 100 calories snack here. Make it more filling by adding some form of protein in it. Other ideas to incorporate spaghetti squash are: baked casseroles, mix with some veggies and make it into a wrap, toss some in soups and on top of salads, be the “mac” in your mac and cheese, the sky is the limit with such a versatile squash. Last night, I microwave a cup and added a spoonful of salsa and it was just as delicious.

If there was a marketing label, it would look like this:

Low Carb, Low-fat, Low-calories, Cholesterol-Free, Low-Sodium

Good source of fiber, Vitamin A, Calcium, and Potassium

Only 42 calories per serving

The squash itself is not a very sweet type and does not have a strong distinctive taste of it’s own so it is perfect as a base to any of your dishes. Takes up the personality of your dish really well. Over-cooked, they can be a little soft, but when done perfectly, it has a little crunch to it.

A one cup serving (5.5 ounce) is only 42 calories, 0 WW, 0.5 grams of fat, no cholesterol, 28 milligram of sodium, 10.1 grams of carbohydrates, 2.2 grams of dietary fiber, 3.9 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 32.6 milligram of calcium and 181.4 milligram of potassium.

I’ve been rocking some major spaghetti squash meals lately because I found them very inexpensive at my Fresh & Easy. Butternut squashes, spaghetti squashes, and acorn squashes (any size) were all up for grabs for only $1.98. Naturally, I picked the biggest and heaviest one which clocked in at a nice 5.4 lbs. A steal for under $2.00.

Retails: $1.98 each @ Fresh & Easy
My Cost: $1.98
Calories: about 42 per cooked cup (154g)
WW: 0

P.S: Check out these awesome giveaways:
Stevia, Nature’s Path, Chia Seeds, Whooha Gear, Tropical Traditions, Nibmor & E3Live

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Filed under Fresh & Easy, squash, WW: 0

Lifeway Kefir Probiotic Kefir Bars

Picture 331Little bugs are quickly taking over the world, and by little bugs, I mean probiotic bacteria that has been sprouting up all over the grocery market. Probiotics are naturally found in food items such as yogurt and kefir, but now companies are adding it wherever possible. The latest probiotic craze comes in the form of bars. Lifeway Kefir presents their newest Wellness bars in 3 flavors: Chocolate Crisp, Sweet n’ Salty Peanut, and Pomegranate. These bars are found in the refrigerated aisle (right next to their kefir) which ensures the live and active cultures are alive and well before it hits your tummy.

From the site:

Kefir is the cousin of yogurt and it’s roots can trace back more than 2000 years. Originating in the Caucasus Mountains of Europe where people live well past 100 years, the word Kefir is thought to have been derived from the Turkish word “Keif” for “good feeling”, probably due to the sense of well-being experienced after drinking it.

Now Lifeway Foods, America’s leader in Kefir, has taken the probiotic power found in traditional Kefir, and transformed it into a nutritious, convenient, on the go, snack bar. Lifeway’s Kefir Wellness Bar contains the essential daily probiotics your body needs, and the great taste you deserve.

The bars range from 190 to 240 calories each and are a good 50 gram size. Each bar has a white frosting type layer covering each bar. The snowy white reminds me of snow and Christmas. I think it is the kefir layer which contains all 10 of the live and active cultures. See what it looks like inside here.

Chocolate Crisp: Like the name suggests, it has rice crisps in them . Firm, yet chewy texture with the rice crisps. Visually the biggest bar of the 3. Maybe the crisps “bulks” it up a bit. Not as chocolaty as I would like, but I like the crisps in it. Reminds me of Jamfrakas. No chocolate chunks in there, the chocolate flavor is blended in.  Good balance of chocolate flavor, crunch and chew. This combination works and it taste good. Could be higher in the fiber department, but fairs a decent 11 grams of protein.

Sweet n’ Salty Peanut:  Real peanut butter flavor with bits of peanuts nuts inside. I like it and if you like peanut butter flavored things, you will like it too. Sweet and salty for sure. I like the crunch. Very good.  Highest in calories, but definitely the most delicious. My favorite flavor of the three.

Pomegranate: Softest texture of the bars. Like puree inside with bits of walnuts that seem out of place. Flattest of the 3 bars. Don’t really dig this flavor because I think I’ve been spoiled by the taste of POM Wonderful as far as pomegranate flavored things goes. It doesn’t really taste like pure pomegranate flavor to me. Lowest in the sodium content (70 mg), but highest in the sugar department (24g).

I like how the three varieties are drastically different in terms of taste, and texture so there is something for everyone. The Wellness bars contain all the 10 live and active cultures you find in the drinkable Lifeway Kefir so it makes it simple to get your daily dose of healthy bacteria. Great to pack along with your lunch. The bars taste like regular bars and does not even taste “kefir-ish” if that makes any sense. I suggest you try all 3 before you decide if you like these bars are not because the differ drastically in terms of taste and texture. What I did not like about these bars is the 3 – 4 grams of saturated fat per bar.

Chocolate Crisp: Serving Size: One (50g per serving) Amount Per Serving: Calories 200, Fat Cal 50, Total Fat 6g (9% DV), Sat Fat 3.5g (18% DV), Trans Fat 0g (0%), Cholest 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 190mg (8%), Total Carb 27g (9% DV), Fiber 1g (4%), Sugars 15g, Sugar Alcohol 0g, Protein 11g (22% DV), Vitamin A (0% DV), Vitamin C (0% DV), Calcium (4% DV), Iron (15% DV), *Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Sweet n’ Salty Peanut: Serving Size: One (50g per serving)  Amount Per Serving: Calories 240, Fat Cal 120, Total Fat 13g (20% DV), Sat Fat 4g (20% DV), Trans Fat 0g (0%), Cholest 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 200mg (8%), Total Carb 25g (8% DV), Fiber 3g (12%), Sugars 12g, Protein 7g, Vitamin A (0% DV), Vitamin C (0% DV), Calcium (2% DV), Iron (6% DV), *Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Pomegranate: Serving Size: One (50g per serving)  Amount Per Serving: Calories 190, Fat Cal 45, Total Fat 5g (8% DV), Sat Fat 3g (15% DV), Trans Fat 0g (0%), Cholest 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 70mg (3%), Total Carb 32g (11% DV), Fiber 4g (16%), Sugars 24g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A (0% DV), Vitamin C (0% DV), Calcium (2% DV), Iron (8% DV), *Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Retails: $2.00 each @ Lifeway Foods Online Store
My Cost: Free (from Lifeway Kefir Representative)
Calories: 190 to 240 each
WW: 3-5

P:S: Check out these awesome giveaways:
Blogversary, Movie Tickets, Progresso, Stevia, Oikos & CSN Credit

and… click here to support Operation Chocolate Covered Kindness (click for charity).

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Filed under Bars, Probiotic, Snacks, Whole Foods, WW: 3, WW: 4, WW: 5