Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wallaby Organic Down Under Berries and Cream Flavor

I don't usually get flavored yogurt at the store since it tends to be too sugary, but this tuity-fruity treat has been calling my name for a while now--I mean, you can SEE all the luscious fruit right there on the bottom--yum! The yogurt on its own was very tasty, so I was impressed right off the bat. It had a great, thick texture usually reserved for greek-style brands. There was seriously a TON of fruit on the bottom, a chunky mix of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. The only downside was that it got kind of watery after I mixed it up, so it lost some of its wonderful texture. And that it was gone way too soon! :(

Healing WIth Juices Giveaway

Hey homegirl over here is having an amazing contest to win some yummy raw Living Tree products. They look luscious and I would love to win ;)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Don't try this at home

Inspired by my little raw food adventure the other day, and a little by this recipe, I decided to make my own "raw" ice cream at home. Ummm...here's how it went:

Frozen banana

Big ol' spoonful of extra dark cocoa powder
and a splash of almond milk Well, it didn't taste disgusting, but was seriously lacking the texture or consistency that I would have liked.
As you can see, it was pretty soupy and gloopy. I think I tried to skimp a little too much on the banana (I only used a half), and I should have used my food processor instead of my blender. So don't try this lame-a** rendition, but do try it--as I will again, eventually. Funny enough, Gena has a much more successful and delicious experience posted on her page today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Scrumptious Blueberry Banana Muffins

I love to bake. I love blueberries. And blueberry muffins have been calling my name for a couple days now, so I decided to indulge myself a little and get cookin' this afternoon! The thing with me is that I don't really "follow" most recipes, I use them only as suggestions and make substitutions or add or throw in a monkey or whatever. My dad makes fun of me for this. So when I decided to make my muffins, I consulted a few cookbooks and then came up with my own concoction:
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
  • 1/2 c. wheat bran
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 c. blueberries
Mash banana in a large bowl and beat in egg, then add almond milk. Measure in all dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Add the blueberries and fold in.
Spoon batter into muffin cups sprayed with Pam and bake at 350. I made mini muffins, so I baked mine for just 10 minutes, but if you're making larger muffins, try 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I read a little tip in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook not to use muffin liners with either banana or bran style muffins because they will stick and fall apart, so I just baked them in a sprayed tin instead.

I was actually kind of surprised when these turned out well--I'm kind of a skeptic and the batter tasted a little weird, but they were deliciously light, just sweet enough and totally packed with blueberries. This mess made 12 of these little goobers, each clocking in at about 40 calories. Not bad for some tasty homemade goodness, yeah? Who's laughing now Dad? Mmmmmuffins :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Omar's Rawtopia

I've been so excited to share my first real raw food experience! Hubby's been out of town for the week, so my sister and I got together to hit the only raw food restaurant in town, or in Utah for that matter: Omar's. As you'll recall, I have tried cuisine from this place once before, but I wasn't down with the food choice, so I was super pumped to go and order what I thought would be interesting to try. My sweet sister agreed to share a few items with me, so we got:

Hummus Pizza ...

Hummus topped on pizza crust with veggies, avocado,
and seed cheese, and love

Falafel Bowl ...
Live tahini dressing over a bed of mixed greens, topped
with zucchini, tomatoes, onions, celery, olives, avocados,
our famous nut/seed falafel biscuits, and love.

Bean Burrito ...
Beans consist of a purée of Tahini and sunflower seeds mixed with Mexican herbs, and spices. Topped with macadamia nut sour cream, sprouts, and served wrapped in collard greens,
or with crackers, lettuce, cabbage, and love.

(This was a combo plate of the falafel and burrito)

Ginger Aid A lemonade blended with ginger, Goji berries, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and love.

Ok, first of all, the macadamia nut sour cream was the bomb. It was light, slightly lemony and majorly delicious. I asked our server what was in it and he said besides macadamia nuts, there was just Irish moss and spices. Of all the things we ate, it seriously stole the show!

The hummus pizza was the second best thing we ate, and sis and I both agreed that we would order this again, even though she likened it to "salad on a cracker."

Well, it kind of is....but I think that's the point.

Anyhoo, you can see that it was beautifully layered with tomatoes, red peppers, olives, avocado and sunflower sprouts. The hummus was made from almonds, instead of chickpeas, so it carried a more subtle flavor, not as smoky or thick as chickpea hummus. It didn't taste anything like pizza, but had it's own very unique flavors to enjoy.

The sunflower sprouts were definitely another yummy adventure. They tasted almost exactly like a sunflower seed, only fresher and more "green." I would highly recommend these for a nutty flavor addition to any salad.

I liked the bean burrito as well, but it was super messy to eat! I must need to hone my kale rolling technique!

I cared for the falafel bowl the least. The falafel was just tiny dry flakes on top of a salad with a creamy avaocado dressing. I didn't care for the dressing, and I thought the falafel flakes were very salty and cinlantro-y tasting, which is one of the few spices I absolutely do not like to experiment with!

Oh, and I loved the ginger lemonade too! It was super tart and spicy from the cayenne--it kind of reminded me of what that Master Cleanse stuff must taste like. I liked it anyway, but as a beverage only, not as a meal plan :)

It was kind of funny by the end of the meal, my sister and I each had little miscellaneous piles on our plates of things we had picked off our food (olives for her, avaocados for me)--we almost had enough to make another little raw entree of our own :)

All in all, I really enjoyed my "raw experience." The food was fresh and beautifully presented with obvious pride in the product. The food did take a while to come out, but I think that's all the more indicative that it is prepared to order and with "love," as the menu states. It was rather pricey, but I think it truly allowed a bite out of the raw lifestyle and an encouraging window for new experiments to come!

Snacky time

I'm loving this snack right now: mini bell peppers stuffed with Light Garlic and Herb Laughing Cow cheese. Sooooo good! My personal preference is the red peppers, but as you can see, I already ate all the ones out of this pack. Try it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chocolate Heaven a.k.a. Archer Farms Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread

This is heavenly! After my last pb disappointment, I wasn't holding out any high hopes for another flavored peanut butter, but this is truly fantastic. It's actually something the hubs picked out at Target. I make him peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches a couple time a week for his lunch and he loves them--healthy I know, but so tasty. When he saw this, he was dying to try it and convinced me we should buy it "for the blog babe!" I throw him a bone every now and then. :)
Good balance between the chocolate and peanut flavors. Smooth, rich, but subtle chocolate flavor, and yet still tastes like peanut butter. The best part is that although it's sweet, that sweetness isn't the only distinguishing taste. It still a little runnier than I prefer my peanut butter ( I like it thick...that's what she said. Ha ha.). Seriously like the dreamiest Reese's all melted together. I know a lot of you like the PB and Co Dark Chocolate dreams, and I would guess this is similar. Gotta love me some Target brand though!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm Famous!

Not really. But check it out y'all! I'm so excited, I can't even contain my hick accent in writing! My blog was featured on the fabby Ms. Tina's Carrots n'Cake bloggie today. Check it out!
And please disregard the glaring typos. If I recall, it was like 5 in the a.m. when I submitted that post. Thanks for the shout out Tina!

Rib City Grill

As previously mentioned, the one of the three things preventing me from becoming a hard-core raw food vegan is that I LOOOOOOOVE barbeque (the other two things are that I am a cheapskate and I'm afraid of large doses of fat, even if it's healthy--I mean those peeps live off of avocados and nuts for Pete's sake!).

I think when my husband and I retire, we would like to go on a barbeque tour of the U.S. How rad would that be? We could start in Texas somewhere and then head through Memphis and Kansas City and everywhere else in the country with a hole-in-the wall BBQ joint. We could totally die happy then!

Anyway, we've decided to start our 'Que Adventures now, and we grub at new BBQ places every chance we get. A few weekends ago, we headed to the Rib City Grill to try it out. We ordered the sampler which was enormous. It came with pork, beef brisket, a rack of ribs, half a chicken, two potato choices, baked beans, garlic toast and I got a side salad ( I have to pretend like it's healthy!).

The meat was all very moist, which is good for most people--I like mine a little drier. Hubs liked the ribs enough to polish off the whole rack. I tried a bite, but they were too fatty for me. The Pork and beef were both just ok, but the chicken was way good. I actually thought the baked beans were the best part. Good blend of sweet, tangy and salty. I think I ate all of mine and a spoon of Dustin's ( I wanted more but I was just too stuffed.) The garlic toast was rockin', too. It was nothing out of the ordinary, but it was made from nice thick slices of Texas toast and slathered with just the right amount of butter. I usually stay away from bread at restaurants in anticipation of better things to come, but the crust on this was just calling my name.

They had 3 BBQ sauces: Signature, Mustard and Sweet. They busted out the Secret Extra Hot from the back in the kitchen for us,too. That one was the best, and I loved it mixed with the Sweet (yeah, I like to make my own--that's Experimentarian style, baby).

We were totally ravenous when we sat down to eat, so I forgot to take pics until we'd already started, so I promise I'll do better next time. Overall, the food was about average on the BBQ scale, defintitley better than some we've tried, but not as good as our most favorite Sugarhouse BBQ. Seriously, we ahve not yet had anything champion that place. We had a ton of food leftover, and I was way stoked for leftovers, but we left our box at the restaurant. Boo! Oh well--I guess another trip to somewhere BBQ will have to be in the near future!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dreary Day Baking

Today was a dreary, rainy-ass day in the SLC, so it seemed like the perfect excuse to make cookies. I've been dying to try a variation on the Super Charge Me Cookies that have gained such a cult following, plus I needed a way to use up the horribly disappointing PB and Co, so here's what I came up with:
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 very scant c. whole wheat flour according to Dreena's advice
  • sprinkle of salt
  • sh*zload of cinnamon
  • handful of jumbo raisins
  • 4 cherry flavored prunes, chopped
  • 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chippies
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 c. wheat bran ( I subbed this for the flax meal since I didn't have any)
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • Huge glob (about 3 tbs.) Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce.
No, I did not eat a chunk of that batter....ok I did...

...and I most definitely ate one of these! The cookies turned out super yummy and I haven't been able to keep my hands off them today!Hubby liked them too and compared them to a Cliff bar, "only less chewy and better." Awesome. He's so supportive :)

I can see where these would benefit from the addition of nuts, so I will have to try one of the many ideas swirling around in my head (cranberry milk chocolate cashew??). Does anyone else have a favorite variation?

Easy Like Sunday Morning aka Waffle Review #2

Sunday morning calls for waffles, yeah? These babies are nice and thick with lots of flax seeds winking out from the waffle wells (say that five times fast).

When I broke off a little taste, I discovered that there are gooey chunks of fig in there as well. Yum!

I was kind of hoping that these would taste like Fig Newtons, but no go. They didn't smell quite as amazing as the last ones I tried, but they still tasted great!I would recommend toasting these a little longer than normal to bring out the nuttiness in the flax seeds.

I was particularly excited about these for the addition of the Omega-3 healthy fats, hoping they will be a good stay-full breakie option. Each 2-waffle serving has 7 g fat, 4 g fiber and 4 grams protein, with 160 calories. Not bad.

I topped mine with a few blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup and then snarfed them down easy like Sunday morning.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Very Cherry

This is not an experiment, just a moment of edible joy I wanted to share.

Fresh cherries from a tree in my friend's back yard. How divine.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Like a drug...

After discovering this fantastic blog the other day, I knew I had to try the hottest thing in the bloggoshpere of the writer's own invention: The Crack Wrap. I'm assuming it's named such because it's freakin' addictive like crack, so obviously I wanted some!

Ingredients and instructions: Flat Out Wrap, globs of hummus and melty fake fat free cheese.
Arrange and fold, then grill in a pan until toasty.
Cut in half and drool as cheese burbles out everywhere and then stuff your face. Believe me, I did!
While not quite as amazing as I'd hoped (but really, who can live up to the hype?), it was tasty and satisfyingly ooey gooey. I think I will try Laughing Cow light cheese instead of jake the fake cheese next time and see if that is a little more crack-tastic. Also, the Flat Out wraps do carry a soy ingredient warning, so these will have to be used with a modicum of restraint. Mmm...still yummy enough to smile at the memory, even though I just ate it like five minutes ago. Gosh, maybe it really IS crack. Gimme!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Peanut Butter and Co. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl

Ok, I was super stoked to try this. I thought, what could be better than two of my favorite things (cinnamon and peanut butter) combined?

Well, unfortunately, I can think of a few things that might be better than this. The peanut butter is pretty runny with a slightly granular texture.

Pretty faint cinnamon taste--mostly just tasted sweet, and not too peanutty either. There are real raisin pieces in there which is kind of cool, but even after stirring, they were few and far between. The cinnamon flavor grew a little stronger by the end, but I was still a little disappointed by the lack of any strong flavor besides sugar. maybe my tastebuds just aren't sensitive enough?

Just to be fair, I gave it another shot later on in the day. I figured if I stuck it in the fridge for a bit, it might harden up, but no such luck. I was also thinking that maybe I had just tried to taste-test too early in the a.m. and perhaps my tongue wasn't fully awake at 5:30 (good grief, who gets up that early anyway??), but sadly, the PB was still less than I had hoped. Oh well. Guess I'll just have to try again ;)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Raw Crunch with Organic Goji Berries

This bar smelled really good despite being smashed to smithereens. Slightly salty and crunchy. The bigger chunks were delightfully chewy, and I loved how you could see every single ingredient. And whole goji berries, finally fulfilling my goal to try whole ones. They taste kind of like a bitter raisin.

I loved the label, " No Artificial Nothin!" Touted as soy-free (yay!), gluten free, dairy free and peanut free. It contained (all organic): sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, raw honey, cashews, goji berries, flaxseeds, macadamia nuts and celtic sea salt. One bar has only 150 calories, 10 g (healthy) fat, 3 g fiber and 5 g protein.

There were a few other flavors at the store where I snagged this one, so I can’t wait to go back and grab them. I think they had a chocolate one, and I’m all for that—especially if it’s even half as good as this one! Yum!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

U Food Grill

In additional to our lovely shopping expedition last night, we also went out to dinner at a place called the U Food Grill. They have several of these franchises across the country, but this is the first one in the Salt Lake Valley. The premise is that of healthy, fresh food--fast, and they specialize in such items as "UnFries (oven baked french fries)," sandwiches, wraps and tart yogurt smoothies. We had coupons, and as you know, I'm a sucker for the latest and greatest in "healthy," so we headed out to give it a shot.

I had the Chicken Portabella Chicken with Broccoli Bowl, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: chicken, balsamic-marinated portabellas, broccoli, and tomatoes.

It's usually served with brown rice, but I opted for extra broccoli instead. It was really good and super filling. I'm a pretty big eater, but I ended up taking enough home for lunch later on during the week. I would for sure order it again, even though I could probably make something very similar in my own kitchen.

While I enjoyed this restaurant quite a bit, it would probably satisfy all the self-professed "unhealthies," too. My husband got a lean burger with the famous UnFries, and ate it right up. True confession: I had a couple of the UnFries, too, and they were majorly yummy!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Being the experimentarian that I am,Browsing offbeat little food markets is one of my favorite pastimes, and my husband is indulgent enough to come with me every once in a while like he did this evening. We saw a teeny tiny cottage called Pirate O's that specializes in cheese and other gourmet items. they're known for their Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, which is quite delicious. You never know what you'll find at a place like this, and tonight I found this gem:

Ok, maybe I'm just immature, but I thought it was hilarious. I'm not usually one for potty humor, but c'mon! How can you not laugh at this?! I guess it's some sort of tinned sponge cake. You'll notice, it's also microwaveable...how convenient--and quite the bargain at $5.75!

Hubby joked that I should get some to try for the blog, but I just don't know if I could bring myself to eat it--I'd be laughing too hard :)

I did, however, get several other items for my experiments, which shall be appearing shortly. None quite so comical.
P.S. If you live in Utah, you absolutely must stop at this place--it's a spectacular mecca of strange and international foodstuffs that I guarantee you won't find at the local WalMart!

Failed cheese

Sadly, this is one of my culinary experimentations that did not turn out so well! I've been fascinated with the concept of nutritional yeast since seeing it here last summer/fall. Nutritional yeast is high in protein, and often used as a cheese substitute by vegans. The idea is that the yeasty flavor mirrors cheese taste, especially in things like mock alfredo sauce, when combined with a few other spices. I was really hoping this guilt free cheese wasn't too good to be true, so I snapped up one of these packets at my local natural foods store. My intention was to bake up a spaghetti squash and use the cheese sauce to make my own raw version of fettuccine alfredo/mac and cheese.

The powder looked fairly promising when I opened it, but it didin't really smell like much, or taste like much except salt.

Instructions say to mix contents with 1/2 c. boiling water and whisk until mixture thickens...Blech!!

The sauce was very chemically tasting (how can that be?? It's organic!), slightly bitter and other than that, very very bland! The instructions also suggest adding a little butter which might have vastly improved the flavor, but it's supposed to be a vegan cheese substitute, so I figured doing so would be a little against the purpose. It was really only palatable after I added salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes AND a few squirts of spicy Dijon mustard.

I am, however, undeterred by my failed cheese sauce concerning the concept of nutritional yeast, and will probably attempt its use again at a later date. But perhaps this time, I'll use one of the recipes on the web and add my own spices to see if it turns out a little more edible.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nancy's NonFat Yogurt Blackberry Flavor

I have wanted to try Nancy's nonfat yogurt for a while now as an alternative to greek yogurt because it is sooooo much cheaper. I figured if the taste and texture were similar, I could sacrifce the 20 or so grams of protein in my beloved Fage greek yogurt--Nancy's offers about half that. The only problem was that I could never find it in a single serving size, only huge-o family-sized tubs and I hated to buy that much just to sample. So I was really excited the other day when I spotted this little single-serve size with a fruit mix-in.

I tasted just the yogurt on it's own first. It was more tart and much less creamy than greek style yogurt, almost a gel-type consistency. Not bad at all, pretty comparable to most plain yogurts.

The blackberry flavor was a nice touch. Very sweet and syrupy on its own, so it does make a great contrast to the plain yogurt flavor. I only used about half the fruit stuff, and that was plenty.

This might be a good option for anyone considering "going greek" to try first in order to adjust to the tang. Nancy's offers several other varieties, I think strawberry and blueberry are among the ones I saw.

I recommend this as a good snack option. While I won't switch from my greek style yogurt, this is good to switch things up a little bit and offers some different flavors that are unavailable in Fage brand.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Clif Nectar Cherry Pomegranate Bar

Very chewy! HUGE chunks of roasty-tasting cashews. Definitely tastes like the ingredients listed (all organic-- dates, cashews, sour cherries, pomegranate concentrate)-like eating a handful of dried cherries and nuts. Tart, very cherry flavor. Pleasantly sweet. Not really being a fan of Cliff bars, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this bar. I will for sure buy this kind again and I can't wait to try some of the other flavors!I have my eye on the lemon vanilla cashew, and I know famed foodie blogger Jenna from Eat, Live, Run snacked on one of the cacao flavors recently, too, so it must be pretty good tasting :)

Ingredients: Organic Dates, Organic Cashews, Organic Sour Cherries, Organic Pomegranate Concentrate. This bar contained 5 g fat, 7 g fiber, 3 g protein.