Trader Joe’s Cast Off the Licorice Lines – Strawberry

I purchase these for my boyfriend.  He is a self proclaimed lover of licorice.  Twizzlers are one of his favorite candies – so while at Trader Joe’s I noticed they had a strawberry licorice and it was 99 cents for a pretty large package, so I grabbed one.  He opened it that night and said it was the best licorice he’s ever had because it’s a true strawberry flavor.  Needless to say, since that trip (almost 3-months ago) it’s been a staple purchase every time I have gone to Trader Joe’s.
Taste wise?  They are definitely a true strawberry flavor – it’s not a chemically driven strawberry.  But when comparing to Twizzlers it’s not the same thing.  Twizzlers also have this, almost filmly oil taste that is left on your tongue.  You do not get that with these Trader Joe’s licorice.  They’re not really hard, they’re a softer licorice but not soft-soft … I guess middle of the road in softness?  They’re definitely not gonna break your tooth BUT they’re also not mushy.  A serving size is 4 pieces, which in Weight Watcher’s Points Plus points will cost you 3 ppv.
I’m not sure if these are going to be a staple item at Trader Joe’s or if they’re a limited edition product.  TJ’s tends to bring products in for a limited time – so I can’t say for sure if this is one of them.  If they are, or if they aren’t, and you can get your hands on them – I highly suggest them, especially if you’re a licorice lover.  They’re yummy!

Skinny Cow Peanut Butter Crème Filled Chocolates

I spotted these Skinny Cow Peanut Butter Crème filled chocolates while at Dollar Tree.  I had purchased the caramel filled chocolates but had yet to try them.  But considering I am a sucker for anything peanut butter candy related I had to purchase them – and I am glad I did!  I’m a sucker for peanut butter cups, but sometimes the points plus associated with them isn’t too appealing.
The package comes with 3 thinner peanut butter filled chocolate crème candies.  The candy is a nice, smooth milk chocolate with a thin filling of peanut butter in the middle of them.  It’s nice, smooth and creamy.  The greatest part is each pack is only 130 calories – 4 points plus.  BUT if you wanted to eat 1 it’s 1 points plus, 2 is 2 points plus and the 3 is four points plus.  Quite a yummy treat.t!  This would be great to bring to the movie theater for your chocolate fix!

Food Find: Walden Farms Sesame Ginger Calorie Free Dressing

While grocery shopping I somehow stumbled upon the dressings in the pre-bagged salad section.  I can’t say I was even in the section to pick anything up, I stopped in front of the section, noticed the salad dressings and picked up the bottle.  I’m a big ginger lover and the sesame ginger flavor seemed intriguing.  I don’t particularly like sweeter dressings with my salads since I typically mix meats and random condiments into my salads that a sweeter dressing can be a bit overpowering.
I looked over the ingredients and it had soy sauce, ginger, etc., in it.  The dressing itself looked like it wasn’t totally runny so I figured I’d give it a shot … and I have to say I am REALLY glad I did!  It’s perfect on a tossed salad and it’s even good on a grilled chicken salad.  I’ve enjoyed this flavor so much that I’ve put some salad into pita bread, added some of this dressing and enjoyed.  It’s quite delicious and for 0 calories?  It makes it even better!

Boiled Dinner

St. Patrick’s Day came and went and my boyfriend and I did not have our boiled dinner. We were supposed to have dinner with his mom but a family emergency came up and dinner was called off.  I typically make a boiled dinner at least once or twice a year because I just really love corned beef.  My local wholesale club sells a lean corned beef eye round all year round and I really enjoy it because there’s not a whole lot of fat and it’s very low in Points Plus values (3 to be exact for 4 ounces).
I invited my brother and sister-in-law over for dinner and off and cooking I went bright and early in the morning.  I covered my corned beef in water and set it on to boil.  Once the water began to boil, I dropped the head down to medium-low and let it simmer away for 4 hours.  After that I dropped in my baby carrots (2 pounds worth), some peeled white potatoes and the largest head of cabbage ever cut into quarters.  I covered it and let it cook until all the veggies were done.
It was totally delicious!  I ate mine with a drizzle of white vinegar over the vegetables, a spritz of spray butter on the potatoes and a tiny bit of mustard alongside the corned beef.  Totally delicious!  I ate it for dinner and lunch two days in a row and was not complaining about that what-so-ever!  It’s a great meal – takes a while to cook, but was worth the points.
Whole plate points plus: 6.

My most memorable NSV’s (Non-Scale Victories)

  • Being able to walk up and down the stairs, repeatedly, without gasping for air
  • Being able to sit in a restaurant booth and swivel chair (that are connected to a table) comfortably WITH room to spare
  • Went from a 5X shirt down to a Large
  • Went from a 30/32 pair of jeans down to a 12
  • Donated ALL clothing that is not in my current size to family or charity
  • Is able to make it through a 50 minute gym class without sneaking out early
  • A stranger at the RMV, when renewing my license said, “Great job sweetheart, you look amazing!” after seeing my license photo and me in front of her
  • I no longer completely shun doctors because I’m ashamed of my size
  • My doctor is no longer “mad” at me when I show up for physicals
  • Being able to shop at ANY store I want because I can fit into non-plus sized clothing
  • Blossoming into a positive AND happier person

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    Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

    This past week I decided I wanted to do a little baking and Spice Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookieswere on the menu!
    I wanted to make these the week prior, but time just didn’t allow so I went ahead and whipped these up over the weekend and boy, oh boy, were they delicious!  Not only were they delicious, but they were so simple to make.  It involved opening packages and a can, dumping the contents into a bowl and measuring out chocolate chips and walnuts.  Easy as pie.
    The Points Plus values do vary depending on the amount of cookies you make so your individual recipe would have to be thrown into Weight Watchers Recipe Builder to uncover the points plus value per serving.  I ended up making 68 cookies and it made each cookie 1 points plus value each.
    These cookies are softer cookies – but they are heavenly.
    • 1 box Spice Cake Mix
    • 1 can 100% pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie)
    • ½ cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
    • ~1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    Blend spice cake mix. Pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin together until evenly combined and there are no bumps left.  Add in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips and fold until combined.
    Using a melon baller, teaspoon or the tip of a tablespoon drop cookies onto a non-stick cookie sheet.  Note: the cookies don’t really rise or spread so having them close together (but not touching) on the pan will not affect the end result.
    Bake in a 350 degree oven for roughly 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cooking times vary oven to oven, so it may take up to 15 minutes to bake.
    Last but not least – enjoy!

    VitaPizza – Meatless Pepperoni Supreme

    Firstly, I want to say I had been looking for these VitaPizzas forEVER! Incase you’re not aware – VitaTop makes VitaPizza while they also make I want to say VitaWich.  Basically VitaTops are a healthier alternative to a muffin top and brownies, VitaPizza is a healthier swing on a personal pizza and VitaWich is a healthier alternative on breakfast sandwiches.  I’ve had VitaTops and I’m not a huge lover of them – but I do find their corn muffin top if my fav (since I love corn muffin anything).  VitaWiches were meh, not my thing … so all that was left was VitaPizza.  I spotted this at my local Shaws Supermarket (and recently just spotted it at Stop & Shop for SO much cheaper that I picked another one up).
    As a lover of pizza – and all kinds, I will say this does the job of providing you a healthier alternative to pizza for less calories and Weight Watchers Pointsplus values BUT it’s not the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten.  I did cook mine a little longer than recommended to crisp up the crust a lot more.  It’s a little blander tasting, so I did add some garlic powder and sriracha to my pizza which boosted up the flavoring and made it a lot more palatable BUT it is very filling.
    For 5 points plus I feel you can’t go wrong.  I mean is it something I would purposefully hunt down again? Probably not – but when I know it may be a tough week and I’m going to WANT pizza it may be nice to have in the freezer – hence why I bought another one.
    Have you tried any of the Vita products?

    My $2 Life is Good Nalgene Water Bottle

    This was a perfect and rather unsuspecting haul.  I received a $10 certificate from a local store, Bob’s because I have a store rewards card with them and they typically send you a $10 certificate twice a year, plus one for your birthday.  I typically go in there when I get these (even when I don’t get the certificates) to get my sneakers, sandals and typically some sort of attire.  I have a new pair of sneakers in the closet and I didn’t need another pair of sandals so I decided to pick up this pretty pink with heart accent Life is Good Nalgene water bottle.  The bottle itself holds 32 ounces of water, which is fabulous since I typically only buy water bottles that can hold at a minimum 28 ounces of water.  I originally was going to pick up a camel back bottle BUT I am not a fan of bottles that have straws because since my bottles ALWAYS have water in them, I find straws rust out on me rather quickly.  So with this not having a straw, I don’t have to worry about that happening!

    What is your favorite brand of water container?

    Brownie Brittle – Traditional Walnut

    Brownie Brittle is this little creation I stumbled upon almost a year ago.  My local grocery store has been selling the chocolate chip variety for probably, at least a year and I had been hooked from the moment I tried it.  On the back of the package the Sheila G brand advertised a walnut and toffee version and I had never been able to find it until a number of weeks ago.  I was shopping at The Christmas Tree Shop and stumbled upon both the walnut AND toffee variety!  They both made a home in my carriage until I got to check-out.
    Firstly, let me say Brownie Brittle is a life altering experience (haha).  No, really it is.  Whoever thought to take brownie batter and to make it into a thin, crisp layer to imitate a crisp cookie is a genius and I want to give them a hug.  You get that nice chocolate flavor you get from brownies, but it’s very crispy and crunchy.  The walnuts give it a nice woodsy flavoring which adds a little more crunch.  They’re a perfect snack and totally delicious.  And the greatest part?  6 pieces is a serving.  So it takes something that’s sinful (a brownie) and makes it into this genius little serving where you feel like you’re having more than you should for a very limited amount of calories. Genius!
    If you’re a brownie fan or even a crispy cookie fan I would suggest getting your hands on these.  They’re 3 points plus values for a serving.
    Have you ever had brownie brittle?

    My version of an Authentic English dinner

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    We have a local English butcher/market in town which has been in business for 60+ years.  The butcher makes and sells some of the freshest meat you can find.  One of the things they sell is homemade sausage.  Originally they started out selling only English pork sausage (Bangers) and they branched into selling a smaller breakfast version and went into flavored sausages – Greek, tomato, hot, cheese, etc.  I enjoy many of the sausage flavors they sell but the traditional pork banger sausages are my all-time favorite.  Then again, I grew up eating these.
    In England, bangers are served with peas and mashed potatoes.  Growing up my mother always made macaroni and cheese as a side for this dish.  My father enjoyed it this way and it’s what’s “normal” for me to have with it.  I typically don’t eat pork sausage because it’s so high in fat (and WW Points plus values) but to have something you really want and enjoy once in a while is totally worth it.
    The sausages are raw, so to cook them I put in about ¼ cup water into the bottom of a pan, place the sausages in and cover them up.  I let them steam in the water, removing the lid to turn them and let them simmer down.  When the water was almost evaporated I added some more because they certainly would not have been done yet.  I followed the process through again and when done I let the casings brown on each side before removing them from the pan.
    I cooked my Kraft macaroni and cheese per the box directions, skipped on the butter and milk, added a tiny bit of spray butter, the cheese packet and some black pepper.  I served this along side some no-salt added peas.
    Points Plus value wise this meal was 19 points plus.  Yes, that’s a lot, but I don’t have this all the time.  The sausage was 11 points, the mac and cheese was 7 and the peas were 1.  It was so filling I could only eat half and ended up eating the other half a few hours later.
    Have you ever had English pork bangers before?