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Mushroom Marinara with Gardein “Tuscan Breasts”

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My opinion on tonight’s dinner was split. I love mushroom marinara, made with thick slices of baby bella mushrooms, but I’m not so sure about this Gardein Tuscan Breasts product I picked up.

I actually went to this store this afternoon in search of organic chicken breasts, which I have seen at this store before, but I guess they no longer carry organic meat. 😦 I saw the new Gardein products, and having seen them on a few other blogs, I decided to try them. The Tuscan breasts are made with soy protein and vital wheat gluten. I like the texture of seitan, which is also made from gluten, so I was hoping I would enjoy these as well. Each “breast” has 21 grams of protein.

I sauteed up the mushrooms, then pan fried the breasts (per the package directions) for two minutes on each side and then simmered in some tomato-basil pasta sauce. I threw that mess on some whole wheat spaghetti and was excited to dig in.

At first I told Brent that I really liked the texture of the breasts, but that they tasted “really earthy.” As I continued eating… the flavor continued to not grow on me. I’m not usually one to be negative, but by the end of my bowl I was feeling very unfavorably about the Tuscan Breasts. 😦

Brent agreed. He compared the smell of the breasts to “wet dog.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I don’t think I’ll be buying these again. I was hoping I would love them because they have a ton of products. I’m not sure if it’s worth trying some of the other meatless options from Gardein. Perhaps if they went on sale or I had a coupon I might try the “ribs” or something else.

Trader Joe’s Korma Simmer Sauce

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It’s been too long without an update! I haven’t abandoned the blog, but the last week has been a whirlwind. I had my orientation for the nursing program and registered for classes and then went to Chicago for the weekend for a family wedding and some bonding with my friends. I’ll provide a few photos from the weekend in a later post, but first I wanted to mentioned this delicious Korma Simmer Sauce I tried last week. I love Indian, and I’ve been able to make some on occasion, but it often takes quite a bit of time to make it taste as great as it does in a restaurant. Enter the korma sauce.

HPIM3770I sauteed some onions and garlic, dumped in some chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and kale, topped with this sauce and a cup of water and simmered 10 minutes. Dinner was ready in 15 minutes and it was amazing! It tastes pretty close to the nav ratan korma we like at our Indian restaurant, so when we were in Chicago and near a Trader Joe’s this weekend, I had to pick up some more.

HPIM3775I was surprised how much I liked this because I rarely use any pre-made or packaged foods like this in my cooking. I don’t even buy pasta sauce because I can make my own, but for $2 a jar, this stuff is worth it! The ingredients have no weird additives or preservatives and it made about 3 servings. We also bought the Curry Simmer Sauce to try, so I’ll let you know if it’s as good as the korma.

Quick and Easy

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This week has turned into a busy one. A co-worker of mine had an emergency appendectomy so I have been covering for her at work from 9-5 each day through the end of the week. My meals have been pretty boring, mostly just repeats, like some stuffed shells from the freezer and some channa masala, this time with added spinach and half whole wheat naan.

HPIM3384I did try out some new items last night, which were convenient and saved me from pizza or fast food. Brent and I bought some salmon burgers to have on hand and we tried them last night on some whole wheat sandwich thins. I know everyone likes these sandwich thins, but I was pretty underwhelmed. I bought them because I needed something for the burgers and I was (gasp!) out of artisan bread dough. Convenient but bland.

HPIM3390The burgers were pretty ok. Again, nothing special but very convenient. I chopped some fresh dill and mixed with mayonnaise to top the burgers with and chopped a salad to go along side.  The whole meal took 8 minutes to make and when school and clinicals start up in the fall I’m sure most of my meals will be similar to this.

It’s almost the weekend. Brent and I are going to Cedar Point with some friends this weekend and I’m really excited! I haven’t been to an amusement park in a long time, and of course, I always love seeing my friends. Are you doing anything fun for your three day weekend?

Kashi Product Review

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Hello all. I’ve had some seriously crappy deep chest cold symptoms for the past few days, but I’m feeling quite a bit better now. I appreciate all your “hospitality” to Brent while I was gone. He is a sweetheart isn’t he? As he said, he did all the grocery shopping and planning, while I tried to work on a fairly intense research paper outline.

As a result, we have some “fun” items like Zattarains rice mix and frozen pizza in the house now. Brent’s appreciation for simple meals came in handy tonight, because although I’m feeling a bit better, I’m still pretty exhausted. Tonight’s dinner was a Kashi Mediterranean Pizza and some roasted asparagus. Clearly, I didn’t even bother taking a picture of it. The pizza is tiny. I don’t know who could eat “1/3” of it as a serving, but half each seemed to work out well for us. I liked the flavor of it quite a bit, but I still think frozen pizza is a waste for us. It is just way more fun to make my own. However, Brent assures me that he had a coupon for this pizza, so at least it was cheap.

In other news, my little sister and my best friend got me addicted to the Twilight series. All that down time while I was sick had its advantages. I’ve read the books, but I haven’t seen the movie yet. I’m a bit nervous because I tend to “get mad” at movies based on novels if they don’t match my interpretation, but Tessa has assured me I’ll probably like the movie as well.

I believe Brent wanted to know everyone’s opinion on the use of the Oxford comma last night. He is a firm believer in it, and I, not so much. I’m sure he love your opinion, if you care enough about it to have one. Funny the things he chooses to be picky about. 🙂

Oikos Review

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A few weeks ago, the nice people over at Stonyfield Farm asked if I would like some coupons to try their Oikos Greek yogurt. I happily agreed, because I love Greek yogurt, but often have a very difficult time justifying the price.

hpim3100Whenever the option is available and money allows, I like to try to buy organic for our animal products. I worry about it less so for our produce, but I’ve read animals, like humans store large amounts of chemicals and hormones in their bodies, which is of course, why people worry about mercury poisoning with larger fish. Anyway, it’s an argument that makes sense to me, but like I said, this is really only when money allows. That being said, the Greek yogurt is one area where I do not see a difference in price. Oikos costs the same amount in my local store as Chobani, and is slightly cheaper than Fage.

I already know I like Greek yogurt, and we all know it’s thick and creamy. I thought the Oikos was very creamy, although slightly less thick than Fage, but comparable to Chobani. I know there are a few more flavors, but my store only has vanilla and plain. I love the plain. I don’t really find it tart at all, but that’s probably just because my tastebuds have adapted. Because I’ve gotten so used to plain yogurt, I was a little hesitant to try the vanilla, but of course because it was free there was no reason not to. I actually really liked the vanilla as well. I don’t think I would make it my go-to flavor, but it would make a nice change every once in a while. I really wanted to try the honey flavor, but alas, couldn’t find it.

I got four free coupons (as well as a few coupons for other Stonyfield products, which I will try at some point), and I gave one to my friend Tessa, because she had never tried Greek yogurt. Unfortunately, she has not be able to find Oikos in any store near here. She lives in the burbs of Chicago, so if you’re around there and know where to get some, let me know.


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It’s really nice out! I said that this morning to Brent, as I was forcing him to get out of bed and walk the dogs with me. It wasn’t exactly accurate at 7am this morning, but this afternoon the sun made an appearance and it’s nearly 60 degrees!

My “lunch” was kind of pitiful. I had an apple and an Almond Brownie Balance Bar. I bought a few different food replacement bars to keep in my desk drawer, because often I’m asked to work extra hours with no notice. I actually kind of liked the bar, even if it was heavily processed. It was basically like a Little Debbie brownie from my childhood, but you know, with a slight protein powder after taste. I would eat it again though for sure, and it was probably a better solution to my 2pm chocolate craving than my normal handful of baby Snickers from the candy jar.

hpim2951When I got home, I was starving, and wanted some bread, obviously, but I decided to try to be more well rounded. I steamed some broccoli that needed to be eaten and a carrot, and put a little red wine vinaigrette over it. Along with bread and stock/broth, salad dressing is on our list of things we don’t buy anymore. It’s way too easy to make at home. Our current go-to is canola oil, red wine vinegar, spicy mustard, honey and salt and pepper (and a bunch of sriracha for Brent). Whisk, and it’s done. The bread was calling, so I had a small piece with some PB&J too.

hpim2958And because the dogs and I were so excited for the warm weather, I leave you with a few pictures of them frolicking.

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Back to Nature Maple Nut Medley

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As I’ve said before, Brent and I like to check out the clearance rack at the back of the grocery store when we go. More often than not, it’s a bunch of junk, like completely pulverized tortilla chips and whatnot. However, occasionally I spot a gem. Last week was one such occasion, when I found this cereal. I felt compelled to purchase for two reasons: I really like maple flavored things, and I’ve tried other Back to Nature products, including their Harvest Whole Wheats, and Brent and I both absolutely love them. So I felt good going into the purchase, plus it was 50% off.

hpim2721The verdict: I really liked this cereal, but I was a bit surprised by how little I could taste the maple. It had a subtle sweetness to it, but I wouldn’t say the cereal tastes “sweet.” A major factor in my enjoyment was the fact that this cereal did not get soggy at all. Soggy cereal grosses me out, and for that reason I do not like very much milk in my cereal. This retains its crunch. Also, I really liked the chopped nuts in it to break up the flakes. I would really recommend it, although I don’t eat it for breakfast, pretty much only as a snack, so I can’t say it has amazing satiating power or anything like that because I don’t really know.

Overall, I’ve really loved all the Back to Nature products I’ve tried. Like I said before, those Harvest Whole Wheats are amazing. After eating those, I’ve been very hesitant to eat Triscuits anymore. No comparison.

No exciting homemade food from me tonight – I had the chance for some free Indian take-out at lunch, so obviously I jumped on that wagon (Channa Masala, Navratan Korma, not to mention the naan… Drool), and then we went out for dinner because I was in the mood. 🙂

Product Review: Riceworks Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps

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I recently got to try these snacks, courtesy of a coupon, and you can too! Click Here to get a coupon for a free bag of Riceworks! You can check here for a list of retailers in your area.

Brent and I tried the Salsa Fresca flavor this weekend, and I loved them! Brent did too. The flavor was really great, but what I loved most was the texture! So light and crispy, and not at all oily like a lot of chips are.  They come in a variety of flavors, and are totally gluten-free! Yum! I would definitely buy these, and I’d love to try the different flavors.

I took some photos, but unfortunately I’m internet-less at my house, so I can’t upload any. Hopefully we get the adapter we need today from Verizon.

Product Review – Quaker Mini Delights

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Yesterday I received a free sample of Quaker Mini Delights in the Chocolatey Drizzle flavor. I’ve tried a few of the Quaker rice cake products and liked them, so I thought these might be good. Not so much. hpim26951The rice cakes themselves appeared unflavored, and thus had a cardboard-like quality, and the chocolate “coating” was…. chocolate coating. If you’ve had it before, you’re aware of it’s semi-sweet plastic flavor. Blah. I didn’t HATE these, but I certainly would not buy this flavor. Because I don’t want to be completely negative, I will say that the Quaker Quakes Rice Snacks are pretty good in the BBQ flavor, which I’ve had before.

I’m actually working the whole day (8-5) today and then I have to rush home and make/eat dinner from 5:30-6pm before heading to class.  Hope everyone’s Tuesday is going well!

Product Review – Finally!

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Congratulations President Obama! My office actually hooked a laptop up to a projector showing on our break room wall and watched the inauguration live and ordered pizza for everyone, so the office pretty much shut down between 12-1. It was one of the cooler things any of my employers has ever done and I’m glad I got to watch.

Earlier this week, I dragged Brent to The Fresh Market because I wanted some freshly ground almond butter. I got a bit of that, some blueberries for $0.98 a carton!! and some Chobani yogurt, which they just recently started carrying. Since all I’ve heard are amazing things about Chobani, I figured I should try it.

hpim2640I purchased the 16oz tub for $3.99. The container claims to have 2 8oz servings, but first of all, I’m not eating $2.00 worth of yogurt at a time, and secondly, I rarely eat more than half a cup, so I think in my case this is 3-4 servings. I tried some yesterday for the first time, topped with copious amounts of blueberries. The verdict: I love this stuff! (like everyone else, duh). Of course, like all Greek yogurt, the protein content is great (23 grams for 1 cup), although the calcium is a bit lower. In comparison to other brands I’ve tried, I really think this is the creamiest and least tart. Fage, which I also like is tarter and thicker, more like a dip. I also really liked the Oikos brand, especially since it is organic, but the Chobani was actually the cheapest of the 3, which is awesome!

hpim2641I kept telling Brent how great it was and his response was basically, “You’re claiming that your plain, fat-free yogurt is life-changing? Get a grip Vic.” I would buy this again I think, for a treat.

I would love to try the other flavors, but I’m not sure how I feel about fruit flavored yogurt. Maybe if I can find some coupons, I would be willing to try them out. I’ll have to check around for Chobani deals/coupons.

I hope you’re having a great day, and that if you worked you were able to watch/hear some of the inauguration coverage!