Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake Review!

***Disclaimer: This is a cupcake review. Yes, I am aware that baked products like cakes and cupcakes tend to have frostings that are too sweet, which can be spooned off, but let’s remember, I also bake cakes from scratch, including icings, and eat cupcakes monthly. Therefore, my taste for cupcakes may be pretentious and specific. Please bear this in mind before finding the urge to say “cupcakes are supposed to be sweet!” I am a bit of a dessert snob because I have been exposed to quality desserts.:D Thanks.***

Now, for the review:

Today I ventured into Barnes and Noble and sampled a new item from the cafe; A strawberry shortcake cupcake. It was unpretentious in appeal- a plain white cupcake liner revealing a rose pink strawberry cupcake, and a mountain of icing that made my teeth cry. Although I might risk getting another cavity, I felt the risk was worth it. I bought one, and on my first bite didn’t think it was unique in flavor. It tasted like a plain strawberry cupcake laden in artificial flavoring, and appeared to have a bit of food coloring. I could tell the cake had an artificial influence, (I know, it’s Barnes and Noble, but I am a cupcake snob, and am sensitive to natural and artificial flavors in cupcakes) but it wasn’t disgusting.

Cupcakey Gooeyness.

The cake and center wasn’t too bad, but the scariest thing about this delicacy was the icing. Overly sweet, which is not unique for cupcakes- but way too sugary. I would have recommended perhaps applying less frosting on the cake to the bakers (of course you could spoon it off as well). Then things got better for me. I took another bite, much closer to the center, and bit into a jelly center that tasted like rich, ripe sweet berries. This was the ticket right here. The cupcake had gone from something Little Debbie may sell (which to say that Little Debbie isn’t horrible, however the artificial and slightly processed tastes was present) to a cake that instantly earned a summery richness. The gooey, ripened center gave this cupcake jazz and depth. It went from being something that tastes unoriginal and too sweet to slightly more delicate. Sad news, though. Because of the diabetes flavored frosting, I couldn’t finish the whole cupcake. 😦

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake Yumfactor: 3 tongues (3 out of 5 stars) It’s ok, not bad if your teeth and glucose can handle it. Better because of the center, but I’d rather find a recipe online and make these myself from scratch. It’s $2.50 a pop and available at Barnes and Noble.

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Wendy’s Wildberry Frosty Shake Review

Wendy’s is overdosing on wildberries apparently. Berry Almond Salad, Wildberry Iced Tea and now, Wild berry shakes. Thankfully, the salad and the shake is amazing.  Now, let’s continue.

No fair! Mine didn't have the cool burgundy colored syrup on the whipped cream!

The consistency of the shake is a creamy, well balanced fusion of ripe strawberries, raspberries and tart blackberries that don’t overpower the overall quality of the treat. It’s thickness is your standard milkshake consistency, but for some reason, reminded my of liquid frozen yogurt. Not a bad thing.

Here’s Some Yummy Numbers: Nutritional Facts You May Want To Know-

  • Calories-550
  • Total Fat-14 g
  • Trans Fatty Acids- 0.5g
  • Cholesterol-45
  • Sodium 190
  • Carbs-95
  • Fiber-1g
  • Sugar-84g (Not diabetic friendly, unfourtunatley)
  • Protein-11g
  • Calcium-40%
  • Iron-2%
  • Vitamins (A)20%, (C)10%

Although mine didn’t have the cool syrup on the whipped cream, I’d say this frozen treat is worth a try, not too artificial tasting, though I’m sure artificial ingredients are present, but good enough to be gone in 3 minutes. Not literally, unless you want to experience brain freeze. I believe I paid about $2.29ish for the small size.

Wendy’s Wildberry Milkshake Yumfactor- 5 tongues. This is really good, and I have no complaints. Give it a try!

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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!