Monthly Archives: December 2008

Trader Joe’s Spanakopita

spanakopitaTrader Joe’s was sampling these the last time I visited them. They give 1/2 of a triangle, which I thought was a pretty generous portion given the fact that one box only has 12 triangles in them. With such a big size sample, I could really get a feel and taste of what these really are. I like how these are so flaky and slightly crisp after they come out of the oven.  The inside is filled with spinach, ricotta and feta cheese, but I thought that these were kind of bland and oily (probably from the melted cheese).  I wished these had more flavor because these would make great appetizers or a light snack. I looked at the stats after I had sampled one and surprisingly, it didn’t look too bad for the 1/2 of one that I ate, but one can easily polish off the entire box and that would equal to a 720 calorie disaster. My verdict on these would be that they are nice to sample once in a while, but I would not purchase these for myself.

Retails: $3.59 at Trader Joes (12 piece box)
My Cost: Free Sample at Store
Calories: 60 each piece
WW: 1 point each

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Filed under Appetizer, Frozen Food, Trader Joe's, WW: 1

Kozy Shack Pumpkin Pudding

puddings_pumpkin_ppanel I can’t say that I had high hope for this product because I am unfamiliar with Kozy Shack products. The only reason I tried it out was because it was free. I signed up for some free coupons online and they sent me a coupon via snail-mail. Pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors, but this sugary mush is a total disaster. Too sweet and too watery. Yuck!! They advertise it as “pie filling” as well, but I don’t know if that will work well given the watery nature of this product. The sugary taste of this overpowers the next to none pumpkin flavor it has. I was hoping to be able to use it as topping for my morning oatmeal, but I decided to do a taste test first. Good thing I did because this would have ruined my oats. 1/2 a cup is 120 calories, 13 grams of sugar, 4.5 g of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fiber. I categorize this as a dessert, but not a very good one, so I wouldn’t want to waste my calories on this. I’d much rather eat some TJ plain Greek yogurt instead.

Retails: $2.38 at Super Walmart
My Cost: Free with coupon
Calories: 120 per 1/2 cup
WW: 3

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Filed under Dessert, WW: 3

Maeda-en Matcha Green Tea Powder

matchateaI love to drink tea so I’m constantly looking for new ones to try.  I am already a big fan of green tea, but after browsing through the Black Book of Hollywood Diet Secrets at Borders the other day, a few little ideas got stuck in my head and drinking green tea matcha was one of them. It was a fun book to browse through, but most of the tips are all over the net, so save the money to buy some green tea matcha instead of the book.  According to the book, matcha green tea is a “…concentrated form of tea in which one cup is the equivalent of eight to ten cups of green tea. It boosts your metabolism and also cuts sweet cravings.”  I picked up this Maeda-en Matcha green tea powder at Mitsuwa because it looked the most authentic. This tiny canister set me back $10.99, but it’s well worth it. It tastes really authentic, like the tea they serve at quality sushi restaurants. The only problem I have with this tea is that it doesn’t dissolve well in my hot water. There is a lot of clumpy settlement on the bottom of my cup. I looked up how to brew matcha green tea on the Maeda-en website, and I think I need to invest in a tea whisk.  Overall, I really like this tea, but after I finish this, I might try to find a better dissolving one. Maybe it’s all in my head, but this tea does curb my sweet cravings. Hope it really boosts my metabolism as well.

Retails: $10.99 at Mitsuwa
My Cost: $10.99
Calories: 0
WW: 0

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Filed under Drinks, Tea, WW: 0

Trader Joe’s Chile Spiced Mango

12-22-08_2310I was drooling over the frozen dessert section at Trader Joe, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything because there were way too many servings in each box and way too many calories in each serving. Desserts are my downfall, they are too dangerous to keep around the house. Maybe when I’m desperate enough next time, I will take the plunge. There are way too many people at Trader Joe’s this time of year, it was hard to walk around, even without a cart. Trader Joe’s has a really good dried fruits section and there is were I spotted these. I love dried mango and I usually get the “Philippines” brand at the Asian market. A new twist to the usual classic, I had to try these out. I love the sweet and tangy taste of these combine with the paprika, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt.  The texture is really great, dried, but not dried out like some other dried fruits. The ingredients include: mango, paprika, sugar, salt, cayenne which isn’t too bad except for the added sugar part. Now these I can stop at 1-2 pieces. Reminds me of a little stall at my local Farmer’s Market. They sell freshly cut fruit in a cup and they have seasonings on the side where you can add lemon juice and chile spices on it. Those were AMAZING. I stopped getting them when I saw that they had questionable hygiene problems and a few health code violations. Fresh fruits are always good by themselves, especially when they are in season, but when you add some seasonings, it’s a whole new experience. My mom likes to put plum powder on her apples and I’ve seen people eat fresh strawberries with a dollop of condensed milk and a sprinkle of plum powder as well. I think those are great ways to turn fruit into dessert when you have to have some dessert. These Trader Joe’s Spiced Mango are definitely worth their $1.99 and they ended up saving me a lot of calories.

Retails: $1.99 at Trader Joe’s
My Cost: $1.99
Calories: 110 calories per 30 grams
WW: 2

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Filed under chile, Dried Fruit, Mango, Snacks, Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s Mango Black Tea

Trader Joe's Mango Black TeaI fell in love with this tea a long time ago. It makes the perfect iced tea. There are 20 tagless tea bags in the box and all you have to do is put one into a water bottle, refrigerate and you have yourself a nice and cold, bursting with flavor iced tea. So simple and easy. I have to warn you guys that these are highly caffeinated. I made a mistake of drinking it at night one time and I spent the whole night tossing and turning, wondering what was wrong. I finally linked my insomnia to this tea. It’s great for the mornings and I often drink it instead of coffee for my caffeine fix. I love the blend. It’s not only black tea and mango, they have a mix of blackberry leaves, hibiscus and calendula petals in there too. Right after I finished the box of tea, I immediately wanted to get some more. Week after week, Trader Joe’s after Trader Joe’s, these were out of stock. I was afraid that they were going to discontinue it like many of my beloved products from Trader Joe’s.  Right when these came back in stock again, afraid that I would have to go through withdrawal again, I purchased 5 boxes of these. After the first 1-2 boxes, I was tired of it, but today, my love for it has rekindled because these make a great cup of hot tea as well as iced tea. The aroma is exotic, and the tea is soothing, especially nice when I’m nursing a sore throat.

Retails: $1.99 at Trader Joe’s
My Cost: $1.99
Calories: 0
WW: 0

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Filed under Drinks, Tea, Trader Joe's, WW: 0

Clif Bar Chocolate Brownie

Everyone on the blogsphere has been obsessed with energy bars so I picked a few up when they were on sale. It’s so expensive to eat on a daily basis, but I see many people eating at least a few bars a week. To me, at 240 calories, these clif bars seems a bit too heavy for a snack. I have to remember that these are pretty calorie dense bars so I have to eat them wisely or else I’ll end up gaining a ton of weight. I broke this in half and started munching away at it at the gym parking lot before clocking in my gym time. Eating away at it in little pieces, about 1/4 done with the bar I realized that I was not hungry, but I was still doing the “bag-to-mouth” motion. I immediately stopped. These bars are really filling, but so tasty that it seems like you are eating a candy bar. It’s really dense and chewy bar. I like it. After my gym time, I came out and ate 1/4 more of the bar and I was really satisfied and didn’t have to rush home and find food so I stopped by the grocery store to pick up more with some coupons. Each bar is 240 calories, 4 WW, 4.5 grams of fat (1.5 gram saturated), 150 milligram of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein.

Retail: $1.49
My Cost: $0.75 on sale plus doubled coupon
WW: 4 points

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Filed under Bars, Clif Bar, Snacks, WW: 4

Oregon Chai Slightly Sweeten Chai Tea

One day I wanted to try out something new at Starbucks. I never had their chai tea before, but I needed my caffeine fix so I ordered a “dirty chai” which is chai tea latte with a shot of espresso. I was shocked that the tall cup cost me $3.86 with tax. I didn’t expect to spend that much, but I already ordered it. Good thing it was yummy. I loved the spice in the chai tea, but I know I can’t be spending $4.00 every time I wanted one so I needed a good replacement. I saw Oregon Chai on sale at Target and I remembered I had a coupon — perfect. I’m glad they have different version of their famous Chai Teas. They have the sugar-free which I was tempted to get, but when I read the ingredients, I realized that they sweeten it with sucralose so it wasn’t really sugar-free. I try to avoid sucraclose because I find that it gives me headaches. Oregon Chai also has these in original, green tea match, vegan, vanilla, peppermint, sugar-free and slightly sweeten. I got the slightly sweeten one because in reviews, people find that the original one is too sweet. This one is not sweeten with sucraclose which is a plus. You’re suppose to add 1/2 chai concentrate and 1/2 milk of your choice. I prefer mine hot so I microwaved it for 2 minutes. I like the convenience of it, but I wished there was more spice to the chai tea. The cup at Starbucks was definitely more spice-filled. I remember having one at an Indian restaurant and it was really good. The flavor was really intense and “spicy.” If you use skim milk, one full cup is only 75 calories.

Retails: $3.19 on sale at Target
My Cost: $2.19 with coupon
Calories: 30 calories per 1/2 cup concentrate
WW: 0

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Filed under Drinks, Tea, WW: 0