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.

Annie Chung’s Organic Chicken & Vegetable Potstickers

Chinese potstickers used to be one of my favorite side dishes to order from my local Chinese restaurant. These days I don’t order them any longer because I’m really the only one who likes them, and an order is just too much and possibly a little too tempting to have.
One day while shopping at Whole Foods I decided to pick up a bag of the Annie Chung’s Organic Chicken & Vegetable Potstickers because they were exceptionally low in points plus/calories and they were in a comfortable serving size for me.  After watching The Big Bang Theory re-runs back-to-back my boyfriend and I were both craving Chinese food (incase you don’t watch the show the gang tend to eat Chinese food quite often). So much for television swaying food choices, huh?  My boyfriend ended up ordering Chinese food for himself and I decided to take these potstickers out of the freezer.  I cooked them up in a non-stick pan, fried them for a couple of minutes on each side to get coloring on it, then steamed them. They came out perfectly. I asked my boyfriend to get potsticker sauce for me from the Chinese restaurant so I used tat to drizzle over my potstickers and they were absolutely perfect.
The potstickers contain no preservatives, no MSG, no trans fats and are made from organic chicken, cabbage and onions in a light wrapper. The wrapper isn’t as thick as traditional potstickers, but they’re light, flavorful and delicious.
A serving is 7 pieces which is 220 calories or 5 points plus values.

Funky Monkey Bananamon

I picked up a bag of Funky Monkey Bananamon freeze dried fruit while at Walmart because it seemed interesting and overall healthier in comparison to other freeze dried bananas.  I love freeze dried bananas, but I don’t love how loaded with additional sugar and calories – so needless to say I haven’t had freeze dried bananas until I purchased this bag.  Plus, I prefer to have actual fruit instead of candied fruit.
I was intrigued to try them because the ingredients were simply two ingredients and I could pronounce both of them.  Freeze dried organic banana and organic cinnamon.  How simple is that!?  No chemicals, no additives, fat free, real fruit, and they have no sugar added.
Opening the bag the banana slices look like regular freeze dried bananas, but puffier.  They had a bit of a glistening to them.  After trying a few I found the texture was completely different from “regular” freeze dried bananas. These are airier and crispier and the cinnamon gives the bananas a bit of an apple flavor. Perhaps that’s just me because I like apples with cinnamon, but the cinnamon made the bananas kind of reminiscent of apples with an underlying banana flavor. Unique.  They’re not bad and I’d probably buy another bag if I was ever in the mood for freeze dried fruit again.
A package is considered a serving, which rings in at 110 calories or for those following Weight Watchers they are 3 points plus.  I will say they are a little expensive, under $3 a bag – BUT I will say I’ve seen unique flavored fruit (something with lime) at Big Lots for $1 or 50 cents.
QUESTION:
Have you tried any of the Funky Monkey freeze dried fruits?

Trader Joe’s Trader Giotto’s Garden Vegetable Lasagne


I spotted and picked up a new frozen dish at Trader Joe’s. I was in the mood for lasagna, it looked delicious and Trader Joe’s typically doesn’t let me down.  Trader Giotto’s Garden Vegetable Lasagne is a lasagna that is made with organic vegetables and organic whole wheat flour.  Since my boyfriend doesn’t like lasagna, it doesn’t make sense for me to make a big pan of it – so I rely on frozen lasagna OR my mothers lasagna whenever she makes it.
I opted to cook the tray in the microwave, per the box directions, instead of in the oven. Since the microwave I was using cooks fast, I set the cooking time in the middle of the cooking time range.  The dish was hot, but I found I’d prefer to have it cook for the maximum time to make it hotter and to help reduce any potential condensation build up from the meal going from the freezer to the microwave.
I find with frozen lasagna dishes I prefer vegetable lasagna and I have to say this one is perfect.  There’s a pretty fair serving, it’s packed with flavor and it’s incredibly filling.  The ricotta is mixed with spinach and there are small diced up pieces of vegetables throughout the dish.  I did enjoy this for lunch with a small side salad and it was more than enough to be sustainable.  I enjoyed it so much I plan on getting another for the freezer on my next Trader Joe’s trip.
The dish is 290 calories, which translates to 8 points plus values.  Totally worth it!
QUESTION:
Have you tried the Trader Joe’s Garden Vegetable Lasagne?

Justin’s Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups


When I spotted these Justin’s Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups I was immediately excited. I LOVE peanut butter cups – or rather, I should say: I LOVE Reese cups … as well as homemade buckeyes.
I’ve seen Justin’s peanut butter in small serving pouches countless times at Target, but I have never picked up a pack.  On its own, I’m not the biggest peanut butter fan.  I enjoy it once in a while on toasted bread, but I felt purchasing the peanut butter was a waste since I’d rather a Cookie Butter sandwich over a pb sandwich any day.  Chocolate and peanut butter is a heavenly sin and since Justin’s is a healthier form of peanut butter and since it was organic, I decided I’d give it a shot.
A pack is 6 points plus, or you can have one cup for 3 points plus.  I opened the package, took my photos, gave my boyfriend a cup and took a bite of mine … and was immediately done.  The peanut butter was dry. The chocolate was drier. It was pale in comparison to the peanut butter cups I’m used to enjoying. Truthfully, after the first bite, it wasn’t worth my points and I offered it to my boyfriend.  He felt they were “ok” but agreed they were very dry.
I’m sorry to say but I’ll be sticking with my Reese cups going forward. Those never let me down plus they’re the same points plus values as the Justin’s.
QUESTION:
Have you tried the Justin’s peanut butter cups?

Asian Inspired Dinner!

This is an Asian inspired dinner I made a few weeks back for my boyfriend and I.  I knew we were going to have Bool Kogi so I decided to make rice (because it’s a staple – either rice or potato for us) and went with an oriental stir fry vegetable to give us some dimension and a flavorful side vegetable.
I had picked up a package of Bool Kogi Korean sesame marinated boneless beef ribs at Trader Joe’s and planned on grilling them up for us.  Since the weather wasn’t necessarily on our side that day, I decided to broil them in the oven and they turned out perfectly.  The flavor is good, but considering these are boneless beef ribs, the texture is a little funny.  I’ve always preferred pork ribs over beef (just a personal preference) but I did find this was pretty tasty.  I would repurchase, but only when we were looking for something “different” (just because I prefer pork ribs over beef).  Incase you are wondering, these are completely raw and are sold in the raw marinated meat section at Trader Joe’s. A serving is 3 ounces of meat and it is 6 points plus per serving.
I paired it with 1 cup of Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice.  This is the best tasting brown rice I have had!  3 minutes in the microwave and it’s perfect.  Nice, fluffy, filling and delicious.  I have a rice cooker, which can cook brown rice (which takes forever, BTW) so it’s crazy to me that you can have delicious tasting brown rice in 3 minutes.  Bravo Trader Joe’s – you never cease to amaze me.  A 1 cup serving is 5 points plus.
I then “stir fried” up Fusia’s brand of Oriental Stir Fry.  The package came with a mixture of frozen vegetables (broccoli, carrots, pea pods, peppers, onions, water chestnuts) along with a teriyaki style stir fry mixture.  I had 2 servings of vegetables, which calculated out to be 2 points plus.  The vegetables would be a great addition to add in precooked chicken and within minutes, you’d have an oriental stir fry on the table.
Dinner was literally done in 15 minutes and was quite yummy!  13 pointsplus total.
QUESTION:
What is your favorite Trader Joe’s and/or Aldi product for a quick and easy meal?

BoomChickaPop – Lightly Sweet Popcorn


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I spotted this BoomChickaPop Lightly Sweet Popcorn at my local grocery store in the “healthy junk food” section of the market.  I’m not much of a fan of plain ole popcorn (particularly if it’s coming out of a bag), I typically prefer white cheddar … so the lightly sweet perked my interest.  Kettle Corn isn’t my favorite, but I figured lightly sweetened would be interesting – and I can honestly say, it was.
The great part of the Boom Chicka Pop is that it’s only 37 calories per cup of popcorn and a serving consists of 3 ¼ cups for 120 calories = 3 Points Plus.
The popcorn is nice and crunchy with a hint of slight sweetness on them. It reminds me of a very mildly sweetened caramel corn (it has that slicker feel and texture to the popcorn). It’s a healthier alternative to popcorn – guilt free, organic and just “naturally simple” as the manufacturer describes. There are no high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners/flavors, no preservatives and there are no trans fats in the product.
The one thing I will say is that there were a LOT of popcorn kernels and popcorn shells in the bottom of the bag.  Like the last probably ½ cup had to be thrown out because it was just loaded with kernels and hard shelled popcorn (unpopped).  But nonetheless, that aside, this was delicious and I’ll definitely repurchase.
QUESTION:
Have you tried either of the BoomChickaPop popcorns?