Healthy Choice pumpkin ravioli (with asparagus, apples and butternut squash) Review.

Healthy Choice’s Pumpkin Ravioli with apples and Butternut Squash. What a mouth full.

Ever since the commercial with Mindy Kailing advertising new Healthy Choice’s Pumpkin Ravioli with apples and Butternut Squash, I was curious. Mainly because I wondered what butternut squash tasted like. It seems to have become more popular in dishes, such as soups, and as side items. But I also was curious about pumpkin ravioli.

This by far has been one of my favorite frozen entrees. Firstly, the warm flavors of the apple and the pumpkin bring a ring of autumn depth you often experience with rich flavors like these. The subtle butternut squash adds a tinge of sweetness to the tart apples. The asparagus is sharp, but blends beautifully with the delicate butter sage sauce. I could not imagine the harmony of this dish unless all the ingredients were mixed together. The meal contains 310 calories per serving.  My only gripe is that you get about 9 ravioli. Why? Because it’s so good, I always wish for 10. Or 12. Also, whenever I follow the microwave directions on the package, I notice that one ravioli gets hard, to where when I chew it, it’s overly cooked on the edges.  I have no idea why. This  has also occurred with the Lobster ravioli I sampled from them. (Post coming soon). This balance of bold richness, smart calorie content (which may not suffice if you’re starving, but hey it’s not supposed to) and important vegetables make for a convenient lunch or dinner, and invoke a unique flavor experience.

Another picture of what the box looks like.

Healthy Choice Pumpkin Ravioli with asparagus, apples and butternut squash Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud (4.5 our of 5 stars). I really like this. I find that the flavors are well balanced and very exotic. It can be a bit fall for some, however, it’s very tasty. If you are famished, I recommend possibly eating 2 entrees if you’re not into calorie counting and are buying this entrée just to taste it. That’s what I’m doing. If you don’t, you may be hungry an hour later, just as a sidenote. It may not be flavorful enough for some, but you can always add pepper, garlic or whatever else to spice it up.

Like this post? Why not rate, comment and subscribe to more exciting posts in the future!

Advertisements

Fiber Plus Antioxidants Cereal- Caramel Pecan Crunch Review

I have tried Fiber Plus “Berry Yogurt” cereal and thought it needed a bit more sugar. The flakes were harder and thicker than what I wanted, so after finishing the box, I never bought it again. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, but I’d give it a strong 2.5 out of 5 because the flakes seemed a it too “brany” for my tongue. The berries are nothing but strawberries coated in  yogurt, and tasted average. There was also an underlying warmth to the cereal, maybe cinnamony or something in the flakes that threw me off when paired next to the strawberry flavor. Did the fiber get me moving? I’d say yes, but that was what it was supposed to do.

Fiber Plus Berry Yogurt Cereal

Verdict? It tastes like Fiber. Much better with sprinkled brown sugar. I know this is a healthy cereal, and shouldn’t be drowned in sweetness, but I was expecting a little better quality of cereal, especially because I have had Fiber One bars, and they were enjoyable, so I figured another brand of fiber enhanced cereal should be the same. Nope. It made me feel as if I should follow it up with a cup of prune juice, and take supplements for my aching hip.  It could be fine it that was my morning ritual, but I’m not even 30 yet. But this is obviously my opinion, so you may like it a little more than I did. 🙂

IMO,This was was better than the other one.

Fiber Plus Berry Yogurt Cereal Yumfactor– 2 tongues and a tastebud (2.5 out of 5) Do keep in mind that I was NOT just buying this cereal for the fiber content, which I why I think I was a little more disappointed with the taste.

On to the good stuff. Fiber Plus Antioxidants Cereal- Caramel Pecan Crunch is GOOD! The first thing I noticed was that the hard flakes didn’t hurt my mouth. (I’m not going to say any names here, but it was completely unlike that Strawberry Yogurt flavor *evil glare*) The caramel is detectable, and the pecans add a wonderful, nutty, and warm flavor to the cereal. It’s light, nicely sweetened, and it does get things moving. I’d say that Fiber Plus followed up nicely with this sweet, rich and nutty cereal that outdoes the other flavor.

I honestly think my favorite thing about this cereal is the caramel. You don’t see it, but upon getting a spoonful, you get a taste of the sweet, buttery flavor that acts as a pleasant surprise, although you know caramel is in there somewhere. So, how much fiber is included in this cereal? According to the label, a service size of 3/4 cup is equal to:9g, or 35% Sugar content is relatively low at 12 g, and you also get 3g of protein, along with essential vitamins A,B12, C, D &E,and other nutrients .

Fiber Plus antioxidants cereal Caramel Pecan Crunch Yumfactor- 4 tongues. (4 out of 5 stars)  I will most likely enjoy this on a regular basis.

Must Try Food: Publix Low Fat Yogurt (Cuban Edition)

Publix has launched a few new and exiting flavors of low fat yogurt. It seems that it may be  a limited edition release, however, one cannot be sure if these exotic new flavors of yogurt are here to stay. At roughly $0.40 to $0.50 per 6oz container, you can pick and choose from a wide range of Hispanic influenced flavors like Coco Rico (Rich Coconut), Mango, Passion Fruit, Churro, Spicy Pineapple, Prickly Pear,Limonida Fresca (lemon and lime-which I have not tried) and Guava Pastry (Guava Pastelitos). I got excited, because as a child of Miami, Florida, I remember growing up eating hot, fresh, chewy churros from vendors who sold them in brown paper bags on the sides of the busy streets. I also remember going to Cuban bakeries in my town, and getting fresh, flaky pastelitos (little pastries)  in a variety of flavors. I knew I had to try this.

Pictured from (l) to (r): Passion Fruit, Spicy Pineapple and Mango

The containers have a festive and fun band of orange around the top of the container that makes one think about summertime in Miami. The fact that it was low fat didn’t stop me at all.

The First one I tried was Coco Rico, or Rich Coconut in English.  I was expecting a standard yogurt experience coconut flavoring, coconut flakes, and that tangy undertone of active bacteria (probably not, but I always think that,lol!) that’s so typical. Well, firstly, the texture itself seemed is thicker and creamier. There were no coconut flakes, but a strong,smooth coconut taste that tasted rich, and satisfying. This was not like any yogurt I’ve had before. And I loved it!

  • Coco Rico Yumfactor- 5 tongues (5 out of 5 stars). The flavor was fun, full and fierce! No coconut flakes, not that it’s a problem, but the lack there of adds to the richness of the yogurt. Sweet enough for me, and low in fat!

Next, I tried Churro. I was not sure if there were going to be pieces of churros, or just a plain old cinnamon and sugar thing going on. Again, the texture was rich and delicate, and did nothing to remind me it was low in fat. The exotic, and warm spices of cinnamon, and the sweetness of the sugar dances blissfully as I found myself satisfied with this one.

  •  Churro Yumactor- 3 tongues and a tastebud (3.5 stars out of 5).   Although it’s great, I usually tend to prefer yogurt with a light and fruity flavor. I like it, but probably would not get it again, as it’s warm and doesn’t contain any fun fruit. Better than I expected, though.
I am currently eating the mango, and I have had Publix’s mango “Fruit on the bottom” before, so I had an expectation. This mango flavor was explosive, bold and more strong than the fruit on the bottom variety. There are chunks of mangoes and the color is vibrant. I love mango!
  • Mango Yogurt Yumfactor- 5 tongues!  (5 out of 5 stars) I love anything mango, and though some of these flavors may be too sweet for a diabetic, or not sweet enough, I must say this one and the coconut are my favorite.
***UPDATE!! I have also tried “Guava Pastry” and “Passion Fruit” since my last post.
Guava Pastry seemed pretty straight forward, based on my experience with trying pastelitos in Miami. Although i didn’t expect to get much of the flaky crust from the yogurt, the guava flavoring was sure to be strong. I ended up tasting a cinnamon and guava interpretation of the pastry, and was somewhat disappointed. I don’t recall tasting much or any cinnamon for that matter in the pastelitos I frequently ate. There were small pieces of guava fruit, which tasted good, but not in combination with the cinnamon.
  • Guava Pastry Yumfactor: 2 tongues and a tastebud (2.5 out of 5 stars) It was all because of the strong cinnamon flavor, which I felt overpowered the sweet guava. This was more warm, and spicy. Not my favorite.
And then there is passion fruit. I knew this would be good as it’s pretty straight forward. Not much to say here, outside of the flavors being bold, combining the tangy and sweet exotic richness of passion fruit with the velvety smooth texture of the low fat yogurt.
  • Passion Fruit Yumfactor- 4 tongues (4 out of 5 stars) Summery, fun, and a great intrepretation of the bold fruit.
  • Prickly Pear, I figured would be a tangier pear laced flavor, and it ended up being a bit more mi in flavor. Sweet, and juicy, this yogurt tasted more bland in terms of its exotic name. I give it 3 tongues (3 out of 5) it was just blah compared to the others, but was not a bad pear yogurt.
  • Spicy Pineapple, I was hesitant to try, but ended up being one of my favorites. Vaguely familiar, the pineapple flavor was sweet with bits of sweet pineapple pieces, and the spicy did not over power it.They balanced each other out to create a harmonious flavor explosion. I give it a 4 tongues and a tastebud (4.5 out of 5 stars)
All of these yogurts range in the 30’s as far as sugar content is concerned, just so you know.
NOTE:I will include an *update* when I eat the other flavors, just to review all of the ones I purchased.
Not only does Publix have an assortment of fun and cool yogurt flavors for less than $1, but yogurt itself packs a punch to infection, and strengths the body. Eating yogurt fills the body with probiotics (or good bacteria) like Bifidum,Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophilus ” Which basically reduce gastrointestinal inflammation, fight infection in the body, fight yeasts, and food infection and reduces food allergies in people who have internal discomfort in their bowels. Click here for more info Streptococcus thermophilus which will take you to the page I obtained this info from (here, you can click on the link “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic” including a break down of all the bacteria I listed). I got it from wikipedia, but there are cited sources, along with a list of how the probiotic effect your body. Yogurt can also prevent indigestion associated with lactose intolerance.
The Talking Spoon Challenges YOU! 
Why not practice taking probiotic tablets daily, or making yogurt apart of your daily food regimen? all you need is 1 6 oz serving, and your white blood count will be increased, which helps to fight off infection, your inflammation,  decreased, you get both calcium and a serving of fruit, and get yourself closer to living a healthier life! Also, this yogurt is only $0.50 at the most saving you money.

Coconut Water, FTW!!!!! (Tropical Edition) Reviewing It’s Amazing Health Benefits + Product Review

I am indulging in mango flavored coconut water, and not only is it amazing in taste, tropical, exotic and refreshing, but its also a power house of healthy. Chock full of 5  electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, and is even said to aid in anti-aging and fights off high blood pressure and even cancer.

Coconut Water in Pink Guava, Mango Peach and Pineapple by two brands.

Perfect for a post sport drink, this drink is all natural, light and low in sugar. Many people in tropical countries drink this to quench their thirst, but now many in the U.S. are indulging in it after hearing about its benefits. I briefly stated a few of its benefits above, but lets go into more detail. (*NOTE: I am obviously not a doctor, nor am I saying that drinking coconut water will cure any serious health aliment you may currently have. If you are suffering from certain serious symptoms and have not had them checked, please call your doctor.) Coconut Water, already full of electrolytes and great light flavor also is said to:

  • Eliminate viruses, act as an anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation in the G.I. tract, bladder, and even reduces infections from candida
  • Helps keep skin smooth (by putting directly on skin) and keeps skin hydrated when consumed.
  • Regulated blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Enables digestive health by promoting healthy colon function, and promotes bowel movements.
  • Helps treat bladder issues and conditions like cholera, intestinal worms, diarrhea, stomach flues/viruses, dry skin/ itchy skin,and malfunctioning kidneys.
  • Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Promoted T sells, and beneficial immunity to fight infection from serious conditions, or infections.
  • Promotes energy as antioxidants carry oxygen to blood cells.

But don’t take my word for it. You can read more about the benefits of this amazing beverage at the two links I recovered the information from: http://www.drinkpura.com/articles-what-is-coconut-water.php

http://www.zerbos.com/common/news/store_news.asp?task=store_news&sid_store_news=1&storeID=5DDC50E796734E49AEDE162FFC8CABF9

Now for the review, This brand is ONE made in Indonesia. The brand offers a variety of refreshing coconut water, in mango (pictured), pink guava, original

Coconut Milk with a Splash of Mango Juice

and pineapple. I purchased it at Publix for $1.49, in the 8.5 ounce size.

Firstly, the splash of mango juice is a noticeable feature as it gives an interesting and sweet depth to the juice. Not too sweet, I noticed a light consistency(unlike some drinks that have strong syrupy undertones) and noticed that in drinking  nearly 4 ounces, I felt an increase in energy. This flavor is more compelling than the original (which is a plus to me) coconut water flavor, and was finished in short of 10 minutes (I wanted to savor the flavor)

One Coconut Water Yumfactor (Both Mango and Pineapple): 5 tongues! (5 out of 5) I give this drink a 5 out of 5 not only because its healthy and refreshing, but also because this brand offers a dynamic selection for those of us who like variety.

I also tried the pineapple flavor, and once again, I tasted a strong burst of fresh pineapple, noting the increase in energy and mood. I’d say that these flavored goodies have great flavor options, are easy to enjoy, and are not too bad to pay for.   Again, 5 out of 5 for the pineapple. Sure, Gatorade is cheaper, but if often full of sugar and is mainly food for electrolyte restoration. Think of this coconut water as a low budget, fun and exotic homemade sports, and vitality drink.

What I’m Sippin On: Green Tea and Strawberry Smoothie (With Recipe)

Hello all! So, fun fact time: I love making and drinking smoothies. It’s a great way to get your fruits serving, calcium and even protein! It’s a great way to replace a meal, and you can even add veggies to your smoothies!!! (I think only carrots may work for this, though) I am currently drinking a green tea and strawberry (with orange juice) smoothie. I love the green tea’s light and herbal flavor, but I also appreciate its light caffeine content. I will be doing a post on why green tea is so epic of a tea, including health benefits, info on tea types (loose leaf, powder and bag). The only thing is I seldom measure when I create things, but I do want you guys to have the recipe. I do think these measurements are pretty accurate, though. It’s delicious! You’ve gotta try this recipe.

Green Tea and Strawberry Smoothie (2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tsps.Matcha Powder (Green Tea Powder- I’m thinking you can also use 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of chilled green tea, just be sure to make sure you sweeten it prior to using it. You may need to adjust this as you go aing, because matcha powdered green tea has a different flavor than liquid green tea in drinks I find. So please, pour, mix and sip, then adjust if necessary! In order to make green tea, please follow the directions on the back of the green tea box.) I bought mine on ebay, but you can find it at Asian stores as well.
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk (can be soy or regular)
  • 2 -4 strawberries (depends on how berry you want it to be. I used 2. Can also be frozen)
  • Vanilla flavoring (extract or syrup. I used French Vanilla Flavored Torani syrup) (Vanilla enhances whatever flavors you are using)
  • 1-3 tsps of sugar *to taste* (Can also be substituted with agave nectar, honey, or splenda)
  • 1/4 c orange juice (Really, I just poured enough in the container, and eye measured it.
  • ice cubes (I used about 5-6 whole cubes)

(I used a magic bullet blender to make this.)

1) Spoon 1/2 cup of Vanilla flavored yogurt into the container. This can be adjusted according to how much protein, yogurt content you desire. More yogurt will make the smoothie thicker in texture.

2) Add matcha green tea powder (or cold sweetened green tea) Then add 5 to 6 ice cubes. This can be altered to your personal taste level, but remember that more ice cubes equals a colder beverage, and too much ice can make the drink more slushy  in texture.

Smoothie will be more pink than green, because you are using a small amount of green tea.

3) Add 2-3 strawberries, vanilla flavoring, milk and orange juice. If you are also using a magic bullet, it should be nearly full of ingredients by now. Add desired sugar amount (I added about 2.5 teaspoons)

4) Blend until smooth. You may have to premix the smoothie to ensure the yogurt becomes well incorporated. Smoothie is finishes when it is light pink in color, and smooth in consistency. If you see green powder, or yogurt, please blend until it mixes well.

5) Garnish with a strawberry if necessary. Enjoy!! This can make 2 servings, but if you want more, you can add more milk, which shouldn’t alter the flavor of the smoothie. The consistency however, may be changed. Play with the  fruit content, as well as the yogurt content to get the balanced texture.

*Optional* For added protein content, add desired amount of protein shake mix to smoothie, or even use vanilla soy milk. I have made similar smoothies with soy milk, and it tastes wonderful! Also, you may use powdered sugar in smoothies as they contain a small amount of corn starch, which acts as a mild thickening agent! Info on matcha can be found here: http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=matcha

Must Try Food: Sweet Potato Fries (with a surprise tip!)

Firstly, I must blog about my new guilt free indulgence sweet potato fries.  I love sweet potatoes as I find them more versatile and tasty than regular white potatoes. Also, nutritionally, they are more valuable than white potatoes. Let’s compare briefly. First, here’s a video of the difference between the two:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTb42OGnxLQ

Yummy sweet potato fries (frozen then baked) with A sweet and spicy Asian Chili Sauce.

Nutritional Content of : White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: (Some of this may be redundant after the video, but this is more those who may want to see things written versus in audio form) obtained from  http://www.lisanelsonrd.com/blog/white-potato-vs-sweet-potato-which-is-better

White Potatoes vs Sweet Potatoes: ‘Tater Wars!

  • Calories: 1 medium sized white potato has 128 calories when compared to the same size of a sweet potato which has  103 calories.
  • Fat: Both have the same amount of fat content, which is 0.2g
  • Fiber: White potatoes have 3 grams of fiber, where sweet ones have 4 grams. (which helps keep blood sugar levels neutral. Some diabetics have even reported that white potatoes make their blood sugar levels rise, where as sweet potatoes do not increase them)
  • Glycemic Index: White Potatoes are nearly 35 points higher than sweet potatoes.
  • Potassium: White potatoes have 738.3 mg while sweet ones have 541.5 mg.
  • Vitamins C and B6: White potatoes have less Vitamin C, but more of B6, and the opposite for sweet potatoes (more Vitamin C and less B6)
  • Beta-carotene: White potatoes have 8.28 mcg , where sweet ones have 13120 mcg. Holy Smokes!

So what does this mean,folks? Sweet Potatoes > White Potatoes,though they possess different flavors.

Mr. Potato Head doesn't seem too happy about this...

{Reviewing The Fries}

Moving on, I am reviewing a brand of Sweet potato fries I recently tried. I prefer to buy the frozen fries and baking them due to a healthy lifestyle I want to maintain.  The taste of too much grease and fat literally turn my tummy in many directions :/

Alexia Julienne Sweet potato fries comes in a Family Size, low sodium variety that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. After baking them according to the directions, you can be sure that you will be satisfied due to the rich taste of the sweet potato. To make things interesting, I added a touch of garlic to combine the sweet, rich flavor and a savory note that I was happy with. (If adding garlic salt, be warned that some of the moisture will be reduced, and your fries may end up a little shriveled.) Perfect with chicken, or burgers, these bright and healthy baked fries are fabulous! I even tried the chipotle variety because I wanted a more intense experience! These run about $4.

Alexia Sweet Potato Fries Yumfactor: 5 tongues!!! (5/5) These are healthy, fun and yummy! Think low-budget gourmet!

Alexia Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud.  (4.5 out of 5) While fun, and blends savory and sweet, I find that the addition of chipotle can inhibit eaters from adding a variety of flavors, and may clash with whatever else is being eaten with it. IT is yummy, and perfect for barbecued side dishes, or as a snack on it’s own.

Asian sweet Chili Sauce- a great dip.

Tip: For an exotic touch, use 2 to 5 tsps. of Asian Sweet Chili Sauce as a dip, or even garlic Mayo. This dip gives the sweet fries an exotic depth that is irresistible.


Money Saving Tips: Managing Your Latte Love

Thanks, Ben!

According to www.Feedthepig.org, many Americans spend nearly $5 each day on the fluffed up lattes, adding up to $20-$30 weekly.  Now mind you, there is nothing wrong with spending that amount of money to get your eyes to stay open for a few hours, but in actuality, spending that amount on name brand coffee is not the only option out there.  To save yourself some cash, you can follow one of these easy tips and have you coffee as well.

1) If you must drink that certain name brand coffee daily, try opting for their coffee of the day versus that $4 and change espresso with syrup, too much sugar and whatnot.  I know, I know.. you want that special Cinnamon Dolce flavor that makes your tongue sing whenever you take a sip. Well, simply ask for that syrup. Usually, coffee of the day can range from $1.50 to $2 and change, saving you bucks right there; the syrup may be an additional $.20-$.30, and also you can add as much sugar and cream as you want, having your say in how you want you coffee made.

2) Buy your own coffee and make it yourself.  That’s right! You can go to either a farmer’s market that will have worldly coffees available at wonderful prices, or you can even go to Marshall’s retail stores where you can get a pound of flavored coffee for less than the price of one of those little pretentious espresso, fluffy drinks.  I went to Marshall’s recently, and came across dozens and dozens of assorted flavored coffees from your traditional vanilla and hazelnuts to the more exotic Hawaiian coconut, chocolate raspberry, butter pecan, butterscotch and creme brulee flavors.

Assorted Coffee Syrups. Pictured are Davinci and Monin brands. Also, Torani is also a popular brand.

 The prices ranged anywhere from $2.99 to $4.99, which is slightly the price of one cup you’d spend elsewhere. Simply add sugar, milk/cream and you’ve got flavor, coffee and savings! Boo yaw! Also, if you like Folger’s and Maxwell House brands, they offer coupons for additional money-saving in you weekly paper.

*If you like for example, Starbuck’s coffee syrup flavors, they are often times available for purchase at Target stores (Usually $6.99, but on the website it’s $10.99!). Other coffee syrups can be purchased at www.baristaproshop.com.

3) Why stick with coffee when it’s just the caffeine you need? Try teas that have caffeine (like green teas, white teas, red teas and black teas).  Studies show that these teas are full of anti oxidants which contribute to healthy aging, memory strength, higher metabolism and cancer prevention to name a few benefits. Teas are a healthy way to get caffeine without the jitters or guilt of high calories. While some flavors are an acquired taste, they do not have as much caffeine as espresso drinks, nor do they have the calories. Often, some teas are prices at $2.00-$3.25 depending on the brand, with 20-30 bags. Also, green teas are offered in new and exciting variety like Green Tea and Orange, Green Tea and Pomegranate, ect.

4) Try 5 hour energy drink.  One of these little bottles contain vitamin b and niacin with a little caffeine to keep you going for 5 hours and cost less than the $4 coffees you’d get elsewhere with a longer “keep you up and active” factor coffee does not have.  Yes, I said it.  While coffee is great, it usually stops working after say 3 hours, later accompanied by the ever so fun “crash”. My experience with this drink was total refreshment, as if waking up after a power nap. Mind you, I drank about 3/4 of the container, scared at first and expecting my tongue to fall off, but the beverage was not too sweet, had a refreshing berry taste.  It did not make me feel the jitteriness I have felt when partaking in the ritual of drinking some espresso drinks. Also,  for me, there was no crash afterwards. ( I will be doing a review on this drink in the near future, so stay tuned).

5) If none of those tips work, simply purchase coffee from your local convenience stores.  I frequent Quik Trip, where they have fabulous coffee flavors and good coffee, for roughly $1.17 for a 16oz size.  This again is cheaper than buying an espresso drink for $4. Their coffee does the trick and you are given more options without paying extra for adding syrup.  also, they get festive and creative around the holidays, offering Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee and Chocolate Cinnamon. (My fave currently, is the Vanilla Cupcake Cappuccino.)

So there it is guys and gals- options to save you money each day that are not hard to try an meet your needs. Cha-ching!