Cascadian Farm Organic Oatmeal Raisin Kid-Sized Bars

I spotted these Cascadian Farm Organic Oatmeal Raisin Kid-Sized Bars while out at the store and decided to pick them up. I figured they’d be good to have on hand whenever my sweet tooth showed itself or if I was looking for an alternative to oatmeal raisin cookies.  I haven’t tried any Cascadian Farm products in the past, but I’ve always heard rave reviews so I hoped for deliciousness … and deliciousness is what I got.
The oatmeal raisin bars are kid-sized which is just a way of saying “snack size”.  They’re good for a small snack if you’re looking for something sweet, but they’re certainly not a filling type of snack. They’re soft, chewy, sweet and overall quite delicious. They are one of the best oatmeal raisin snack bars I have tried and I was quite pleased with them.
Each bar is 80 calories or 2 points plus values.

Power Steak Lettuce Wraps @ Panera


Panera launched their “Hidden Menu” earlier in the year and unfortunately (and oddly) enough the menu is not listed in-stores, but it is featured on the company’s website. This, like many hidden menu options, means many folks don’t know what healthier alternatives are available.  One thing I’ve noticed when ordering off the Hidden Menu at Panera locations, is that I need to know the exact name of the dish or the individual taking the order typically thinks I want a different dish. I will say, the longer the hidden menu has been active, the easier ordering off it has become.
With that, I decided to give the Power Steak Lettuce Wraps a shot.  The meal is quite simply loaded with power foods – and power foods are right up my alley.  The dish is pulled together with slices of steak, lettuce, tomato, red onions, cucumbers and a basil pesto drizzle. The dish is to also be accompanied by a fresh lemon for squeezing, but my salad did not have one present, which was fine because the basil pesto drizzle was more than enough.
Flavor wise the dish is delicious – it has that light quality from salad, but it’s bold with fresh vegetable flavors, pesto and good quality cut of steak (which is served chilled).  It’s listed as a “steak lettuce wraps” but trying to make a wrap out of this dish would be far too messy to even contemplate. So a fork and a knife do the trick and may very well keep you from wearing your lunch or dinner.
The meal itself is 210 calories or 5 points plus values. Quite worth it in my opinion!
If you’re interested in checking out any of the other items on Panera’s hidden menu, go to http://www.paneranutrition.com/and search under “Hidden Menu” and choose your item for nutrition information.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite dish to get at Panera?

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

I had seen the limited edition fall Pepperidge Farm cookies at Target since mid-September but I refrained from picking them up because I was a little apprehensive. I’m a Pepperidge Farm cookie fan, but typically I enjoy the crunchy cookies like Sausalito, etc.
While in Target truthfully looking for a sweet treat, I decided to pick up a pack of Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies.  Bringing the bag home, I tucked them away in the closet and forgot about them for 2-weeks. Then one night, I wanted something sweet so I decided to have one.  The cookies themselves are soft, so soft that they stick together.  Taste wise they have a very mild pumpkin flavor, but it’s more spice than pumpkin.  The cheesecake candy chunks are rather large and just too sweet – the cookie has a reminiscent cheesecake flavoring, but it’s all together too sweet. Yes, sweeter than a regular slice of cheesecake.  I was quite grossed out by the sweetness that I ended up giving them away because I couldn’t handle more than the cookie I ate.  If I’m in the mood for a Pepperidge Farm cookie, I think I’ll stick to Sausalito or even their oatmeal cookie.
A cookie is 130 calories or 3 points plus each. I’d say worth it if you’re a cookie fan and enjoy a sweet cheesecake, mildly pumpkin spiced flavored treat. But otherwise, I’d say not so much.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite cookie?

<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

Trader Joe’s Apple Cinnamon Goat Cheese

I had seen the Trader Joe’s Apple Cinnamon Goat Cheese advertised on the website and I wanted to give it a try.  The apple cinnamon coating is what really pulled me in because I’ve honestly never purchase goat cheese to eat. I’ve had it on pizza, but I feel cooking cheeses sometimes changes the flavor compared to eating it cold.  When I got to Trader Joe’s they were actually giving out samples of the Apple Cinnamon Goat Cheese near the cheese section. So I tried a sample and I really enjoyed it … so I picked up a log.
According to the label the cheese is “A great balance of textures and flavors. Tart, sweet, tangy and creamy.”I personally didn’t get much of a tart flavor, but I did get the sweet, tangy and creamy. The cheese itself is very creamy and when paired with the sweet apples it gives it a tangy quality.  I find it’s really best on a plain cracker that has little to no salt on it. I have had it on a piece of bread in lieu of a cream cheese and it’s tasty, but I prefer it more with crackers.  It really is a different and unique snack for me.
A 1 ounce serving, which is roughly 1 inch, is 80 calories and 2 points plus values.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite cheese-based snack?

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix

I’m a sucker for pumpkin desserts (I mean, what else is new) and because I had tried the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix last year and was quite a fan. I like this mix because it’s one of the most versatile mixes because it’s advertised as a bread or muffin … but I tend to enjoy making this as a cake.
The mix calls for eggs, oil and water to be added to it – but when baking I typically try to cut corners and make it healthier.  So, with this particular mix I make my pumpkin cake with sugar free apple sauce and water. I simply add 1 cup water and ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce mix it up until incorporated and add it to a Pam spritzed cake pan. They come out perfect every time! Moist and delicious.  The apple sauce doesn’t give it an apple flavor; it’s truly not noticeable when added in, but the cake does have a unique moistness to it.  I cooked this up on a whim after wanting dessert that night and no one had any idea I made it with apple sauce and water. When I finally let the cat out of the bag, everyone was surprised and shocked.
¼ cup of mix is 150 calories, or 4 points plus.  With the apple sauce and water each slice remains at 4 points plus.  Whereas if the oil, eggs and water were added the nutrition info and points plus would need to be recalculated.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite pumpkin flavored baking item?

Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread – Pumpkin Spice


I spotted this limited edition Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread – Pumpkin Spice while at the grocery store and I had to give it a try.  Since I have a deep love for pumpkin I opted for this flavor over the caramel apple swirl bread. I love raisin bread and this smells sweet like raisin bread, but mildly pumpkiny so into the cart it went.  I’m helping my boyfriend find an appreciation for pumpkin things and this is one of the pumpkin items he was more than willing to try.
I’ve enjoyed it toasted with spray butter on it and my boyfriend has had this transformed into French toast.  It’s good mildly sweet, mildly pumpkin tasting and very reminiscent of cinnamon raisin swirl bread.  I enjoy this because it’s a dense bread and when toasted it’s crunchy, but it’s still got a soft quality to it (well, unless you burn it).
One slice is a serving, which is 80 calories or 2 points plus values.  Not bad and worth it, particularly if you’re looking for a change up in the breakfast/snack bread department.
QUESTION:
Have you tried either of the limited edition swirl breads?

Trader Joe’s – Trader Ming’s Chicken Egg Rolls


I cooked up a pack of Trader Joe’s – Trader Ming’s Chicken Egg Rolls to pair along with dinner one night.  I’ve tried just about all Trader Joe’s egg rolls and these have to be the most “authentic” egg rolls they sell.  They’ve got the classic thick and crunchy egg roll shell.
I cooked these in a convection oven with a little spritz of Pam cooking spray over the top of them. They cooked up perfectly, evenly and had a nice crispy wrapper.  The filling is more along the lines of the filling you’d get when ordering an egg roll at a Chinese restaurant. It’s filled with vegetables, but it’s also filled with pieces of shredded chicken, instead of pieces of pork.  There are pieces of carrot, cabbage, water chest nuts, bok choy, bamboo shoots, etc. mixed with the chicken. They’re perfect just as is, but they’re even better dipped into a little bit of sweet chili sauce.
A serving is one egg roll, which are 140 calories or 4 points plus values.  Definitely worth it if you’re an egg roll fan.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite frozen egg roll?

Trader Joe’s Roasted Rosemary Boneless Chicken Breast with Wild Rice Pilaf


I spotted this Trader Joe’s Roasted Rosemary Boneless Chicken Breast with Wild Rice Pilaf in the prepared foods section of my local Trader Joe’s and was intrigued. It looked good, it sounded good, so I decided to give it a shot.  I had it in the fridge for a few days, and then decided on having it for lunch with a small side salad.
I pierced the film and put it into the microwave, took it out when it was done and measured out my serving.  I initially raised an eyebrow at the chicken and realized the skin was still on it. Now, I don’t eat skin on any meat so it grossed me out just a bit –but I ended up pulling the skin off and chucking it in the garbage. Granted the removal of the skin would lower the points and calories, but since I wasn’t able to recalculate I left it as is.  The meal was quite filling with a small side salad.  The chicken was moist and the pilaf was delicious and packed with flavor and vegetables. It was one of the better heat and eat rice pilafs I have had.
Price wise these come in at right below $6, which truly isn’t bad for a convenience meal for two people.  A serving is half the container (255 grams), which is 310 calories or 8 points plus values.
QUESTION:
What is one of your favorite prepared meal at a grocery chain?

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Nonfat Greek Yogurt


On my last trip through Trader Joe’s it was officially pumpkin season – which meant a lot of my favorite Trader Joe’s items were officially back.  One of the things I was very excited to try was the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Nonfat Greek Yogurt.  I have purchased pumpkin yogurt and my initial thought all the time is it would be perfect if thicker … and Trader Joe’s provided just that.
The yogurt itself is very thick like classic greek yogurt.  The pumpkin flavor is undeniable, but there is a noticeable tartness from the nonfat yogurt that is also on the forefront.  The tartness can be downplayed by adding in a little bit of artificial sweetener or even some honey.  I enjoyed my yogurt with a packet of Equal stirred into it, then topped over some strawberries and blueberries and topped off with 1/3 cup of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Granola.  It was delicious and very filling.  It’s the perfect pumpkin greek yogurt.  And I enjoyed it so much I made sure to pick up 2 more containers.
A container houses an 8 ounce serving which is 190 calories, which is equal to 5 points plus values. Sure, it’s high for yogurt, but it’s definitely worth it – plus you’re getting almost double the amount of yogurt you would typically get.
QUESTION:
Have you tried the pumpkin greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s?

PB Crave – CoCo Bananas


After purchasing a boatload of PB Crave off their website I decided to finally give the peanut butter a shot.  In my particular area, the line is sold at select Wal-Mart locations but it is also available on the company’s website.  The one peanut butter I was the most intrigued about was the PB Crave CoCo Bananas.
PB Crave peanut butter is a natural peanut butter and the oils separate from the peanut butter and has to be reincorporated into the mixture.  After a number of stirs with a buttering knife, everything is incorporated together and ready to eat.  CoCo Bananas is a blend of wild honey, chocolate and a natural banana flavor.  The peanut butter itself is not sweet like regular peanut butters on the market; it’s got more of a natural peanut butter flavor that’s slightly sweet.  I’d say the chocolate flavor is not really noticeable but the banana flavoring is definitely nice and smooth. It’s definitely a nice, delicious treat.
A 2 tablespoon serving is 180 calories or 5 points plus values.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any PB Crave peanut butters?