The Subtle Bliss of Maple Bacon

Some of the best bacon I have sampled has been Oscar Meyer’s thick-cut maple bacon. I picked up a pack while going grocery shopping, fried it up and ate it on a hogie. The balance of sweet maple syrup is a delicate balance of flavor when paired up to with the salty and appetizing bacon flavor. The smell is fantastic; sweet maple, smokey bacon and a full-bodied finish on the nose.

Image

The bacon would be an amazing  to incorporate into sweet dishes (cakes, cupcakes, muffins, ice cream) and treats. Add spicy mayo, lettuce and tomatoes to make a unique BLT, or add it to a salad featuring fruit (mango, pineapples and nuts) for a fresh twist. Maple bacon can, of course, become a separate cooking venture constructed in any kitchen. Here is a link.

Must Try Foods: Limited Edition Cocoa Chex Mix

I have always loved this mix as it balances sweet chocolate with salty pretzels. I tried it a few years ago and have always looked for it, so naturally I was not hesitant in picking up another bag! It was about $2.00 and change, and is normally made available around the winter months, which makes sense considering it is supposed to be a Chex interpretation of hot cocoa. Fun! 😀 Firstly, Chex mix seems to be a crowd pleaser, and the standard flavors tend towards the salty, (although there are candies in some of them) which is to be expected.

Oh, the fun!

This mix  gives a handful of variety as there are chocolate squares, vanilla yogurt cream flavored crispies, plain chex cereal squares, delicate mini marshmallows, salty pretzel, and sweet swirlyness. The mini marshmallows gives it an overall sweeter than salty pretzel experience, but admittedly is my favorite part of grabbing a handful to snack on. The vanilla yogurt cereal squares are also rather delicious as their flavor is strong, and the coating is rich, playing of the sweet chocolaty notes. I bought a bag last night, and finished it already 😦 That is a drawback of this product- you may eat it off before you plan to!  They are 7% less in fat compared to potato chips, and contain only 7g of sugar per 1/2 cup per serving, along with 120 calories! Not too shabby! Not only is this mix delicious, but it captures the spirit of winter because of the hot chocolate association. Try it! You may love it as much as I do! Here is another review of the same product: http://www.betterproductadvisor.com/review-limited-edition-cocoa-chex-mix/

Note: For those who are diabetic, while this snack is low in sugar, please remember than this in a carb than will break down into sugar once eaten and digested.

Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich- Reviewing My Obsession+Copycat recipe

Close Up

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love and often crave Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich. Here’s why. It’s light and refreshing, healthy, full of both sweet and savory flavors, and it’s rather exotic in nature. First, let’s analyze this sandwich from inside out. Sun dried tomato and basil bread, with a sweet undertone around the crusts, a tangy hummus spread on the bread adding a nice kick of flavor and complexity,cilantro,  fresh cucumbers, lettuce, spicy Peppadew  peppers, red onions, and tomatoes…and FETA cheese!!!!  The bread is soft and full of flavor itself.

Inside Shot

And no, I’m not a vegetarian,but this sandwich is good enough to make me order it faithfully at Panera for over 5 years. I have tried other items as well, but this Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with a cup of their epic Iced Green Tea is all I need to have a great day. Plus, it’s under 650 calories!! (or a few little numbers above 650, but not above 670)

Copycat Recipe link!!!! alla *Debbie Does Dinner*

http://debbidoesdinnerhealthy.blogspot.com/2010/09/mediterranean-veggie-sandwich-with.html

Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich Yumfactor- 5 tongues!!! I just only wish there were sun-dried tomatoes versus regular ones, but it’s still amazing! Cost- $6.30 including tax.

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.


Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle

The Chocolate Drizzle; a perfect example of epic sultriness. But it gets better.

Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle is a sexy as it sounds.Oh my goodness. The dark chocolate bars are Golden, literally. Godiva’s dark chocolate bar, packaged in a sexy gold and cream wrapping makes one think of luxury. This item is part of their “Ice Cream Parlour” collection that showcases their rich, decadent chocolate with fresh mint,velvety vanilla,toasted hazelnut and bright orange (to name a few). I saw this item at Target for $2.99 and decided on trying this. WINNING!

Although I am not the biggest dark chocolate fan, I can appreciate it when it is thoughtfully paired with a lighter, or more sweet flavor, or an exotic, spicy infusion. The first thing you will notice are the inscribed “G”‘s on each bar, which must stand for “Gold” or “God” of chocolate, as this item is as precious as it in my opinion. Biting into it, there will be a sharp note  of bittersweet, rich dark chocolate, followed by a  delicate vanilla taste with a creamy, buttery undertone. Its texture mirrors caramel (though it is cream in color), and though no vanilla beans are absent, there is a complexity of the satiny vanilla that stems from the product’s quality ingredients; White chocolate, vanilla powder, and vanilla work hand in hand to stand out on their own, but bow down humbly to the dark chocolate’s authority, both harmoniously defining each other’s tastes. It’s limited time, so act fast!

"G" must for "The God of Chocolate" or "Gold". Whichever works for you.

I could see myself feeding this to a special someone on Valentine’s Day, as it is as sultry as a romantic evening, and is sure to be treasured as a luxurious indulgence. (Sorry mom and dad O_0) Now I get what all this Godiva fuss is about (although I have had some of their other chocolates and had a “meh” reaction) TRY IT PEOPLE!!!! 🙂

Pros– Sexy, sensual and succulent. Beautiful vanilla dances with rich chocolate, working together to tame each other. Dark cocoa is a natural mood booster and contains antioxidants. It’s also Kosher.

Cons– Huh? Ah..Not being able to taste this because living under a rock functions to perpetuate eternal lack of exposure.Being allergic to chocolate/being a hater of dark chocolate, and allowing your hatred of it to close your mind to the finer things in life (a.k.a. this product). Shame on you.

Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle Yumfactor– 5 tongues. (5 out of 5)

Think I’m weird because I called out people who live under rocks? Think I got a little too into this candy? Rate. Comment.  Subscribe.

International Delights Cinnabon Coffee Creamer Review

{UPDATE/ Possiblly TMI}-Hi everyone! I apologize for a slight delay in my postings! Here I return with *another* coffee creamer review! I promise I’ll switch it up nest time. I’m actually contemplating including another copycat recipe, and then a produce review (of a non coffee product) and a health tip.

**********************************************************************

Int’l Delights Cinnabon Creamer Yumfactor- 2.5 tongues (3 out of 5 stars) (Coupon link below.)

In their inclusion of new  flavors such as Chai Latte, and their Coffee House varieties, International Delights decided to ante up the fun by including 2 new limited edition creamers:Almond Joy (in which I have reviewed ina previous post: please click link below to read) and Cinnabon Creamer. As a fan of variety and all things new, I decided to give both a shot. I’ll have to start by saying that I’d prefer the Almond Joy to the Cinnabon, but there’s more.

Yummy Cinnabonness, slathered in oooey-gooey nomnom.

The flavor description promises to include spicy cinnamon and tangy-sweet cream cheese, which are both highly detected in the tastebuds upon sipping.  Int’l Delights does a good job to replicating the cinnamon bun taste, as I have previously tasted Coffee Mate’s Cinnamon Bun creamer(which only tasted like cinnamon. No icing was detected.) Inl’t delights has done a great job in being detail oriented in terms of taste, considering that their audience would actually want a creamer that tasted authentically cinnaboney.

Although I liked their replication of the bun, I wouldn’t buy it again, because the inclusion of a cream cheese undertone in my coffee is just plain weird. I even considered that it would be when I was considering purchasing it, but I figured the cream cheese icing flavor would be obsolete. It’s not extremely strong, but the flavor does make its presence known. Probably a better Fall/Winter Creamer versus a summer flavor the warm cinnamon tastes like Autumn on my tongue, but it’s summer,so my mouth gets a little confused.You may, however,enjoy this flavor yourself, but my tastebuds, have moved on. One thing that I think makes it taste better is adding a teaspoon on French Vanilla/Sweet Italian Cream Coffee Creamer to tone down the cheesiness. You may like this if you have more than 1 creamer in your fridge at a time. 🙂 I have included a link for a printable coupon below. Hope it works!

Pros- Authentic Cinnabon taste, cream cheese and all. Spicy cinnamon goodness as opposed to your traditional sweet creamers. New!

Cons- Cream Cheese in my coffee is kind of awkward. *Better with the addition of a teaspoon of any Vanilla based creamer.

Where’d I buy this? Wal-Mart. I believe it was about $1.58-ish? There is a coupon on their website on the left bottom part of the screen. They will ask you to log in/register (lame) but if you have a facebook profile, you can use that.

Coupon Link: https://idregistration.icmodus.com/default.aspx?bhcp=1

Almond Joy Creamer Review: https://thetalkingspoon.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/coffee-creamer-review-new-international-delights-almond-joy/…)

Mio Water Enhancer:Because regular water just isn’t fun anymore.

MiO Peach Tea.

Mio has released commercials of tiny silver bottles that add flavor and color to your water. I purchased this item at Target about 2 weeks ago, and was happy that I could practice a healthy lifestyle, while making my water less boring. Yes, I went there. We all know that water is incredible for health, but let’s be real- it doesn’t always taste fun, and I’m a fun kinda girl! XD So this product was ideal! A little info about my water drinking history- I’d only drink it if I was parched, averaging at about 3 glasses/day. The sad thing was, I was totally okay with that.

 

I had previously contemplated buying a fruit infuser for water to add a natural fruit taste to my water, but was concerned that the result would be watered down madness. So, seeing that I can buy a silver bullet looking product that can really pimp your water was cool. I paid about $3. 10-ish for 24 servings/ squeezes of water. Not bad. You can squeeze 1 stream into your water bottle, which yields a water down, bitter taste, or 4 for a more intense flavor- which may result in a Kool-Aid like flavor influsion.

Berry Pom.

I bought the “Mango Peach” flavor, excited that I could use this to increase my water intake, and pose as a healthy option for beverage drinking sexiness. So how healthy is this?

Nurtition Facts are as follows:

Og of: Fat, Calories, Sodium, Protein, Sugar, Sat./Trans Fat,and Carbs Not bad at all, however, let’s look at the ingredients, shall we? Water, blah, blah,blah, citric acid, blah, Ah! Sucralose and Acesulfame? So there is a small amount of sugar in the content, which is fine, but the only problem is not knowing how much sugar is in it. I have seen some other water enhancers that do not have any sugar at all, but obviously the taste will be compromised. Again, I still think 3 squirts of these in a bottle of water is much healthier than concentrated juice, or the dreaded soda. Yikes! High Fructose Corn Syrup! :O Def. is a must try, but hey if you like your water the classic, watery style, then it’s all good.

 

Cool! It's Like A Rainbow! (Even though it's missing really important colors)

Other Uber cool flavors: Strawberry Watermelon, PEach Tea, Berry Pomegranate, Fruit Punch, and Sweet Tea. I like this stuff, and plan of buying more, because I’m too cool for regular water8). Except for Fiji. That stuff is awesome.

MiO Water Enhancer Yumfactor- 5 tongues. (5/5) Cheap, fun, and exotic, you can be encouraged to drink more water with these. But of course, you can do what I do, and alternate between the party in a cup (MiO), to the party pooper in a cup (regular water). There are color additives, so that may turn some people off.

Thanks to all the voters of my last poll!  I really appreciate your input and participation.

 

DON’T FORGET TO RATE/COMMENT/SUBSCRIBE! (OR ALL THREE, IN THAT SAME ORDER! XD)

 

 

Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish Grahams:Because Sprinkles Always =Cupcakes (Even if you can’t taste it)

See the sprinkles on the little fishies?

Cute little gold fishes are always a great snack, and stepped out of their signature cheese varieties into the land of graham. Strolling down the aisles, you may now see goldfishes in s’mores flavors, graham, and even vanilla cupcake. The reason why I got this is not just because it’s new, but because it’s cupcakey! Aww, Pepperidge Farms knows how to be cute!!!

I expected this to not taste that much like a vanilla cupcake considering it has a graham cracker base.  Upon opening the bag, you’ll notice that there are sprinkles on your goldfish grahams to imply that is it indeed a cupcake. (Nothing spells a cupcake like sprinkles, and don’t you forget it :)) With the first bite, I was only able to taste a graham cracker and maybe a bit more butter? Then when the crackers were 75% dissolved into soggy crumbles, I swore I was able to taste a drop of vanilla. As far as the cupcake flavor itself is concerned, the sprinkles were the only thing to remind me of a cupcake. (Even the little vanilla cupcake they have on their packaging

Nothing says cupcake like sprinkles, however, it doesn't equal cupcake flavor, P.Farms

has sprinkley goodness on it) So basically, I’d have to say these snacks are pretty good, and do slightly deviate from the usual graham cracker flavor, (and by this, I mean a little more vanillaey than the typical graham cracker flavor)but I can’t guarantee everyone will taste it. Give them a try, and let me know what you think!

Pros– Overall yummy, and made with whole grain! Yes!! *Doing the bent elbow, up and down yes gesture*. Cute sprinkles. Goldfish that aren’t cheese flavored=variety. A slight vanilla aftertaste,(more vanilla than cupcake) but only when the graham is a liquefied puddle of sogginess.

Cons– No cupcakeness aside the visual aspect of the sprinkles. *Crosses arms and pouts*

Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish Grahams Yumfactor: 3 tongues and a taste bud (3.5 out of 5 stars) Because they are good, even though they don’t taste like a cupcake.

Coconut M&M’s= Coconuty,Chocolatey Cocaine?

What’s fun, exotic,rich in chocolate, and evenly flavored with coconut flavor? Coconut M&M’s! Not exactly brand spanking new, M&M’s release of what I thought was a limited time, this summery flavor seems here to stay. For just $.88 a pack, you get to experience the wonderful combination of coconut and rich chocolate, mixed up ion that perfect, crunchy M&M shell. Yummy. These yummy, musty try candies are in three colors -white,green and brown. I suppose they function to mimic the inside of a coconut,(white) the outside of the coconut and the chocolate (brown), and the green to mimic the cool Palm trees you think of when eating it? O_0 Either way, I can’t resist these things. I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to them, and you may get addicted to them as well.

White package complete with 3 M&M colors- white/brown to mimic the coconut,chocolate combination and green to represent the tropical palm trees?

All I can say for this pack of heaven is I love it! You get the original,smooth chocolate M&M flavor, but  a nice kick of coconut- both harmonious as none over power the other. I think this is my most favorite M&M’s flavor.

Pros- Cheap, only 210 calories, exotic, heavenly, and a nice change from the plain ole chocolate M&M’s. Caution-You may become addicted to these, as they are epic.

Cons- Not at every location. I purchased mine at Publix supermarkets, and have heard some people say that could not find this at their local grocery story. Egads!!! 😦

Coconut M&M’s Yumfactor– 5 tongues (5 out of 5 stars)

Strawberry Shortcake for Breakfast? Sorta!

Isn't it pretty?

Dunkin Donuts has newly released a fun limited edition flavor for their line of ground coffees- Toasted Almond and Strawberry Shortcake! (If there are anymore, I do not know of them because I only saw these two flavors at Target).I was interested in the Shortcake bcecause I figured toasted almond was more easy to imagine taste wise and wasn’t as interesting compared to the pink prettiness of the Strawberry Shortcake. I picked it up, excited about what newness I’d experience upon tasting it. And I sniffed it a little.  OH goodness! It was heavenly! So juicy, sweet and flirty to my nostrils! SOLD!

I bought it for about $6.50-ish? at Target and when I first tried it, I literally wanted to spit it back out. (and yes, I did follow the instructions on the back) Slightly disappointed, I added Coffee Mate’s Italian Sweet Cream Creamer to it to enhance the overall flavor, and tone down the artificial strawberry taste. Sure, I’m sure some of you out there are saying “Well duh, of course it’s going to taste yucky! It is artificial!” But mind you, I have had coffees and even teas with strawberry flavoring that was magnificent.  Anyhow, I tried it again, but decided to add slightly more sugar to it, specifically a 1/2 a teaspoon more,a teaspoon of  Torani’s French Vanilla Syrup and to my relief, I ended up with a smoother strawberry flavor that seemed to blend better with the coffee.  On the the last run, (my third attempt at Strawberry Shortcake Coffee perfection) I added 3 teaspoons of turbinado sugar, realizing this coffee has to have quite a bit of sugar added to it to reduce the slight bitterness of the strawberry flavor and tasted pretty decent.

Now, with that said, I have concluded the following:

  • This coffee flavor is unique, complete with pretty pink packaging and smell goodness. Your nostrils may actually thank you for sniffing the bag a little. You have my permission 🙂
  • This coffee is not exactly pleasant unless 3 teaspoons or more of sugar (in my case Turbinado Sugar) is added to reduce the sharpness of the strawberry taste.
  • This coffee doesn’t necessarily need Vanilla flavoring to be added unless you do indeed feel you have been shortchanged in the cream department.  (On the package, not only does one see the berries and the fluffy sponge cake but also whipped cream) Sadly, the whipped cream flavor, or cream flavoring for that matter, fails to be tasted. Yes, I am literal with my flavors. If you promise or imply  cream, I expect to taste the cream,too.
  • This coffee is basically made or broken depending on the sugar content. May not be suitable for patrons who have diabetes and/or persons who want to enjoy coffee without very much sugar in it. (And I don’t have to add that much sugar to most of my coffees and teas, nor do I really like the idea of doing so.)

Pros: It’s pretty pink color, sinfully yummy smell, and unique flavor. Pretty good with (2 1/2 to maybe 4?) teaspoons of Turbinado Sugar. (just being specific with the sugar. I’m sure regular ole white sugar will work fine as well)

Cons: Not very tasty unless I piled on the sugar. Not for persons who want to go easy on coffee that doesn’t have lots of sugar; may end up being too sweet for some of you out there. Oh, and adding vanilla creamer didn’t really do much. Can taste artificial and sharp to some taste buds. Not cheap,either. Coupon usage is highly recommended.

Strawberry Shortcake Coffee Yumfactor: (Without the heaping amounts of sugar) 2 out of 5 tongues and a tastebud. (2.5 out of 5)(With the extra sugar helpings) 3 out of 5 tongues and a tastebud and a half (3.75 out of 5). It’s not too bad with the sugar.

Liked it ? Didn’t? Then why not lave a comment?