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.

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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)