Snacktime: Fibre One 90 Calorie Chocolate Flavor Doughnut

This Chocolate Flavored Doughnut from Fibre One came in my Cohorted Beauty box as an added bonus. I figured as it was a May box, letting it sit around for even longer was probably not a good idea. So I decided to make it my snack for the day.

At 90 calories it does fit in with my less than 150 calorie rule for snack time. As I look at this as a way to indulge (limitedly) in something i may not normally eat I really only worry about the calories. well that is not entirely true. When I decide to try something out for a snack I worry only about the calories. Later i figure out if the treat was worth it. I have has some higher calorie items that were worth it and some that weren’t worth bothering to eat. I have also found a few very low calorie things that felt utterly delectable and made me feel like I was indulging in something far more decadent.

It has been a tasting journey let me tell you.

The main reason I have an afternoon snack though is to keep me from reaching dinner time feeling like a ravenous beast. I find if I indulge in something small then I can approach dinner more rationally and then eat a sensible portion size. Also as mindless snacking is something to avoid, when i have a snack it makes me think I indulged and makes me more conscious of the choices I make at dinner. Somehow my brain things, “Look you have already indulged and snacked your way through the afternoon, maybe you don’t need that extra snack after dinner.”

Even if it is a small snack.

But the snack has to be worth it. It has to taste good and something about it has to be satisfying to eat. This Fibre One doughnut was… interesting.

The doughnut is more cake-y than light and airy and oddly enough was quite tasty. It has that kind of yellow cake taste to it. The sugar sprinkles were sweet with a hint of vanilla and not only were they tasty, but the differing sizes were quite pleasant as well.

Where it falls down is the chocolate. It smells very chocolaty. It tastes of absolutely nothing. It feels like soft wax in the mouth and has no actual taste. The cake and sugar bits were good, the chocolate was not something I ever want to put in my mouth again. I think this might be my one and only Fibre One Doughnut.


Clean Beauty Trial – Evergreen 2021 Offer – $19.99 with free shipping & 2 free gifts

BOGO Valentine's Day Special Offer

Weekly Weight: May 26th, 2023

Good morning everyone. Another week has ended and while I was able to stay on track this week, I foresee some interesting changes to my routine. If you read my daily posts then you already know this, but I will soon be spending a great deal more time driving than I usually do. The reason is family, and I am happy to do it, but it does mean that routines change.

For me the big downfall isn’t lack of exercise as after a few hours in the car the need to walk is nearly overwhelming. I will just walk in different places. No, my big down fall is firmly in the category of road snacks. I love them. I just do. Since I know summer is the season of road trips. I thought some of the tips and tricks I use may help some of you out as well.

While at home i will have a snack in the afternoons, but that is mostly so that I don’t over eat at dinner. And lately I have actually been having tea in the afternoons. Part of it is because I just purchased my reward tea cup and saucer.

I like to reward each reaching each weight loss goal with a little something I like but don’t really need. so this last goal I picked up a tea cup and saucer from the Alice in Wonderland collection from the Victoria and Albert Museum Store. I am trying to figure out if my next reward is the teapot to go with it or if I am going to hold off on the teapot until my weight once again starts with a one and just use the William Morris Travel mug as my next weight loss reward. I don’t always get more expensive rewards for bigger gals but I think finally getting out of the 200s deserves something big.

So part of me subbing in Tea for snack time is the chance to use my reward tea cup more often. The other part is the Queen of Kyoto Tea from Magic Hour Teas. With it’s dried cherries and other items it feels more juicy and substantial than just a cup of tea so it feels more snack like. At least I feel like I have had enough of a snack that I don’t really want anything to eat.

But I won’t have my tea cup in the car. Or if i did it would be in a box. I can make tea and put it in a travel mug. I might actually do that as part of my “road trip snacking” plan. If I do that, i will feel like I have a treat even on the road. I will also be stocking up on Righteous Felon Craft Jerky. They actually have a 20% off deal going on right now (Code DADS20 for 20% off). I love their jerky. The ingredients are all ones I can get behind and the bags are not enormous. So even if I eat an entire bag, the calorie count is not off the charts and can be dealt with through a walk.

Into my snack kit, i will also be placing a bag of Lifesaver peppermint candies and another of butterscotch. I know, it sounds as if I raided my grandmother’s candy dish, but here is the logic. One butterscotch candy has about 15 calories. The serving size is four candies at 60 calories if you are looking at the bag. One candy will last me a really long time. I suck on them rather than chew it to bits. I chose the butterscotch flavor because it is a flavor I like, but it is also rich and it sort of coats the mouth in sweetness the way any other desert or candy would. So it makes me feel like I have eaten something rich and decadent even after I have finished the candy.

Which makes me less inclined to dive for the candy bar rack when i get gas and use the restroom along the drive. The peppermints give my mouth a minty freshness, which is always good for anyone else along for the ride, but minty freshness always makes me feel like i have just brushed my teeth and therefore shouldn’t snack because my snacking was clearly before I brushed my teeth.

My last essential trick for keeping myself from snacking during the entire trip is a lip balm. It is a simple lip balm. I will either put it on before i start the drive, or at a stop light or just after I have stopped for gas. i will use safe application. I am not the sort who can apply makeup while driving (and it annoys me to see others doing it too). Plus I will be driving through the mountains and the roads are very twisty and turny and need extra attention. But having lip balm on my lips makes me want to avoid snacking. I think it was the sticky lip glosses that were my everyday use during middle school and high school. You put them on and then anything you are stuck to your lips, giving them a textured surface. So in my brain, lip products on the lips mean no snacking.

it only works until the lip balm wears off or is absorbed, but it will give me a surprising chunk of time. I’m sure not all of these tricks will work for you as a lot of them rely on my twisted little brain. But for me they help. And perhaps as we all gear up for a summer of road trips and adventures, these tips might inspire you to find a few unexpected little things that help you keep on track with your plan. And if you find any fun ones, let me know. I am always looking to expand my road trip repertoire.

Monthly Magic Tea Subscriptions

Weekly Weigh in: April 14th, 2023

Good morning and welcome to the weekly weigh in. I am still taking a break from the scale but I find that even without the scale around this space is a good place to take a bit of a weekly check in.

This week I mostly kept my exercises the same. I was going to increase my reps from last week, but didn’t. And then I tried to add a couple of extra exercises midweek, mostly because I remembered that I hadn’t added any more reps. I over did it and ended up taking the exercises off.

I will look into adding them in again, this time more slowly. It is hard to remember that slow and steady wins the race some times. Especially as I start feeling like I have more energy and flexibility. The more I can do, the more I feel I can do anything. So I forgot to go slow when adding.

I know not to, but sometimes knowing and doing don’t actually meet in the middle. It is why I started the add in a couple extra reps every couple of weeks in the fist place, but sometimes, I am my own worst enemy.

At least i have learned not to push it when I do over do it. I take the time to realize what is going on and think about what I need to do. I also have to remind myself that the world will not end if I can’t add more push ups or crunches to my morning. At some point I will get to where I want. And then hopefully I will still keep pushing myself.

Later this afternoon I will be driving out for a belated Easter celebration with family. It does involve a road trip and I am trying to gather all of the good for me snacks. I have some Righteous Felon Jerky (Darth Garlic) and some of the Harvest snap Garlic and Parmesan Baked Pea snacks. It is my hope that having both on hand will prevent miscellaneous snacking and stocking up at gas stations along the way.

I love gas station snacking on road trips but I am the first to admit, I do not make the best choices when picking up gas station snacks. I make delicious choices, but not the most calorically intelligent. So the pre trip stock with good snacks. Also it means we can pay at the pump and not go in. Which means there is less chance of picking up extra germs to bring back to the elderly folks who will be gathering for the delayed Easter visit.

I think I would worry less about picking up something from strangers if it wasn’t for the fact that there will be three people in their nineties, one of whom is only five months away from seeing a triple digit age, at the gathering.

A part of me feels like I out to hose myself down with hand sanitizer and maybe wear a hazmat suit before seeing them. But everyone is vaccinated and we’ve all spent the last few weeks monitoring everything just in case. I know it sounds paranoid, but sometimes, a little paranoia is a good thing.

So road trip snacks are sorted and we are pulling an Agatha Christie Audio book for the journey. I think it is And then there were None which is my absolutely favorite Agatha Christie Book. There is a actually a really good BBC version out. If you get a chance i suggest watching it. I also suggest reading the book. It is quite lovely. Well maybe lovely isn’t the word for a murder mystery. But it is a good book. So soon, we will be off. Have a great weekend wherever you happen to be.

Free Bag of Biltong or Jerky If You Spend $5 with code BAGONUS2022

Snacktime: Righteous Felon Street Taco Inspired Craft Jerky

That’s right my darlings it is snack time once again. For me to stay on track and not reach dinner time starving and ready to eat far more than what I know my allotted portion should be, I need an afternoon snack. Now here is the thing. I always make sure there are minimal limitations on my snacks.

The one real limitation is that I try to stick to under 150 calories. I prefer around 130, but I don’t want to go over 150 at all for my afternoon snack. This calorie range makes me feel like I am getting something substantial, and when I start to make dinner I am not snacking on some of the ingredients as I cook and thus adding unknown calories to my plate.

Snacking is actually one of the most useful dieting tools I have come up with. One snack with 150 or less calories in it. That it my only restriction. I know some of you are thinking, well if those are the only restrictions then what’s to stop you from reaching for really bad candies and other empty calories?

Oddly enough, i did worry about that when I first started adding the snack in. Then I realized it is almost self regulating. Around Easter one of my favorite treats are marshmallow peeps. I don’t know if you have ever looked at the container but a box of five is listed as one serving and the calorie count on that is 140 cal. which means it technically fits. And there will be at least one time every spring where I will roll in a box of peeps and call it a snack.

I will only do it once a year though. Not because it is a special treat, but because after that one treat my stomach really doesn’t want to take in that much sugar again for a whole other year. I don’t feel satisfied, I feel vaguely ill. After a while of snacking, i will find myself reaching for things that I know are good for me even if the junk stuff is available simply because that is the stuff that I want.

So snacktime is anything I want to eat that will fill me up in a way that makes me feel satisfied but has less than 150 calories. After a while of doing this you learn what falls into that category and what doesn’t and automatically reach for the things that have the right calorie count but won’t satisfy you until dinner. At least with me. it did take a while and occasionally something sneaks through but for the most part. Once I start paying attention I will crave an apple over a sugary sweet.

But sometimes, my body wants meat. We generally have one meal per week that uses meat (and it is usually a weekend thing and often it is in the colder weather, fish and chicken dominate the warmer months for our ‘meat’ meals). Occasionally though I just get a meat craving and when i do I want to make sure that I go with good quality items.

I have been ordering from Righteous Felon for a while. Their quality is top notch. I tend to stick to the pouches of meat snacks so I can measure out what I actually want to eat in that moment. This is my first stick from them. Even though it is only 100 calories per stick I generally find myself satisfied with only about half of the stick. But with the sticks I will eat the whole thing.

Recently Righteous Felon released some new flavors. I added a couple of them to my order this time and I could not resist the Street Taco Inspired Al Pastor and Pineapple Pork stick. It has 100 calories only 4 g of sugar and a full 8 g of protein. I generally find that protein really helps me fell fuller longer when I use it as a snack.

I know I could go the protein bar route, and sometimes I do, but a lot of the protein bars are just too sweet for me. This is not sweet. It does have a little sweet tang from the pineapple, but it also has a little bit of a spicy heat. the heat is mild. The spices don’t make it spicy, they make it spiced. and it is spiced exactly like a really good al pastor taco.

It is delicious and the only thing wrong is that it makes me look around to see where the chips and guacamole ran off to. It is fully flavored and tastes exactly like what it is, pork with pineapple and al pastor seasonings. It is a winner. The flavor is great, the protein is enough to keep me going and to let me prepare dinner without snacking on the elements as I cook and the calories are sitting at a lovely 100.will this unseat Darth Garlic as my go to Righteous Felon treat? Probably not, but it will be added to the list of Items I will purchase again on my next order.

Dinnertime Prep: A different sort of stuffed pepper, Chicken Parm Style

This is the time of year where I crave the warm and rich flavors of large meals. And I have to admit that I love a good chicken parmesan. I know there are ways to reduce the calories in a traditional chicken parm but I also have to admit that whenever I use them I feel like I am eating a chicken parm substitute.

So for me, the best way to get my brain shifted is to think stuffed peppers with a twist. While I like stuffed peppers, I never really crave stuffed peppers. For me at least, they are not in the same crave-able category. I find that if I say stuffed peppers with a twist my brain doesn’t have the gooey chicken parmesan expectations so instead of being disappointed that this isn’t a traditional dish, I am pleasantly surprised by the flavors.

And I am surprised by the lowered calories. Because the one thing this recipe does, is limit the amount of cheese used. There simply isn’t enough space to put the same heaping mounds as I do with the traditional dish. For this recipe I used four peppers (two red Bell and two Poblano). I like both actually. For a light dinner I generally find that one half of the bell pepper is the perfect size for me. My babydoll likes both poblanos or one entire red pepper). The peppers are still good the next day so we have the left overs for lunch. They reheat pretty well the next day. I have never had them last longer than one day so I am not certain how well they keep long term.

The reason that we make this number of peppers is because when we purchase chicken we break it into one pound portions and freeze it that way. If we use four bell peppers it uses up all of the one pound of chicken, with the poblanos it leaves a little left over chicken that I use in a salad.

If you don’t eat chicken, feel free to leave it off. (You will also be able to leave off the egg.) Instead just use the seasoned panko as your crispy element)

It is a pretty simple recipe all told and fun to play around with. I broke out the calories for each item and put the full count for the whole recipe as I made it as well as for my portion size at the bottom of the ingredients list. This is how I make it, but hopefully the break out will let you tweak it to your individual needs)so let’s get into it.

Ingredients:

4 peppers (bell, poblano or a mix of your choice) – 24 cal per bell pepper (whole), 48 calories per poblano pepper)

one cup of marinara sauce (131 calories for the whole cup, 8 per tablespoon)

half a cup of grated parmesan cheese (216 per half cup, 22 calories per tablespoon)

four ounces of mozzarella cheese (316 for four ounces, 79 cal in one ounce)

one pound of chicken cut into small pieces (can use breast or thigh as is your choice) (breast:748 in one pound, 62 calories in one half pepper full thigh:802 cal per pound122 cal per half pepper

once cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs (you will have some left over, (640 cal per cup/ 80 cal per half pepper which I use for the final count but I never use all of the crumbs)

one egg (78 cal 8 cal per portion)

two tsp dried oregano (6 cal per whole recipe)

1 tsp dried rosemary (3 cal per whole recipe)

2 tsp garlic powder (3 cal per recipe)

1 tsp dried onion flakes (17 cal per recipe)

eight fresh basil leaves (if you have them, if not add 1 tsp dried basil) (three cal per recipe)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (83 Cal)

Approximate Calories for the entire recipe: 2,438 calories for the entire dish

Approximate Calories per portion size (one half of a bell pepper) apx 305 calories for one portion

Steps:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Chicken or crispy bits (if no chicken):

  • In a plastic container with a lid add oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes and if using dried basil (if using fresh, set the leaves aside for now).
  • Add in the panko bread crumbs.
  • Put the lid on and shake the mix to combine all of the ingredients. Then taste the bread crumbs and adjust, if you need more salt or pepper, add it now. This is the seasoning for your chicken so make sure it suits your taste.
  • in a separate bowl, whip your egg with a fork.
  • Then we bread. Dip your chicken in the egg and then into the bread crumb mix. I like to add a few pieces to the mix, put the lid on and shake, then put the coated pieces on a plate until everything is done. I find it stays neater this way.
  • Discard whatever bread crumbs remain after this as they are now contaminated with raw chicken.
  • If not using chicken, make the mix as above.

To the Stove top!

  • Take your breaded chicken bits, or seasoned bread crumbs if not using chicken, to the stove.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in the pan on medium heat and when a bread crumb dropped in sizzles, start adding the chicken. You are trying to get a crisp on the bread crumbs. You are also cooking the chicken somewhat (about 80%). If there are some pink bits when you are done, that is okay as it is going into the oven. This is to start the cooking process so everything is done at the same time and to crisp the bread crumbs.
  • Work in batches so that you get all of the chicken crisped up and at least partially cooked through.
  • If not using chickee, heat the oil on medium heat and then add the bread crumbs to toast in the hot oil. When they are golden brown remove from the heat and set aside (I like to put them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil – i do this with just the bread crumbs as well as the chicken bits)
  • Once the chicken is done I set it aside and clear away the breading station and sauté pan.

Preparing the peppers

  • Slice in half and take out the seeds.
  • put the peppers in a glass baking dish. I like to line them up so they help keep each other upright like little cups.
  • Add a Tablespoon (more if you like) of marinara to each pepper half.
  • Add a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese to each pepper half.
  • Add in your chicken or a heaping spoonful of your toasted bread crumbs. (The part that touches the sauce below and the cheese above will loose some of it’s crispness, so don’t try and be neat with the laying out of the crispy bits. it is the center part that will stay crisp so sort of mound the chicken or bread crumbs.)
  • Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese (you are welcome to use grated if you like, just make sure you have a thick layer. You need the moisture inside keeping the chicken from drying out and you want the bread crumbs protected so they don’t burn. I find it easier to have a block of mozzarella and slice it into the appropriate amount. If you find mozzarella difficult to slice, put it in the freezer for ten minutes and then slice. you don’t want to actually freeze it, you just want to get it firm with the cold.)
  • Once everything is assembled put it into the over for 45 minutes. Or until the mozzarella is bubbling with brown spots and the pepper is kind of wrinkly and saggy looking and cooked all the way through. Serve hot.

I love this recipe because it reduces both the amount of chicken and the amount of cheese I consume in a sitting, yet still makes me feel like i am having something just a little bit decadent. I actually use this technique for a lot of heavier dishes I like. I will make Chicken cordon bleu peppers for example. The trick is to take the key elements of the heavier dish and shrink down the portions while still retaining the flavor. It also helps that I live with someone who loves stuffed peppers regardless of what is stuffed into them. For me this is a quick and easy dinner with left overs that can be eaten the next day.

If you are on your own or find that this portion is too much for your household, you can prepare the recipe as above. If leaving out the chicken just toast a smaller amount of bread crumbs for your portion size. If using the chicken make sure to cook it all the way through if reserving for another night, or just cook a smaller amount of chicken, one breast or thigh instead of one pound. When I lived on my own i would just make this as a single pepper meal. and used one chicken thigh. I ate one half for dinner and ate the second one the next day. It is a very scalable meal

The colder weather brings out the yearning for some old school comfort foods. with a little adjustment this is one of the recipes I use to give me that comforting flavor, while keeping the calories in check. I hope it helps you as you move from fall to winter as well.

Weekly Weight: 235.7 Lbs

If you are looking at the scale and thinking, wait a minute, that is the same number as last week, I congratulate you on your excellent memory. It is the same number as last week. I suppose after the more than four pounds dropped last week it should be expected that there would be little change this week. That is generally what happens with me.

More than four pounds in one week is a really big number for me, so I wasn’t expecting a big change this week.

This week i kept on keeping on. I missed a few exercises. due to rain early in the week and yesterday my brain was focused on getting a story out of my head so I shorted pretty much everything, including exercise. But I did manage to keep a tight reign on my food.

I am back in the habit of using the free version of My Fitness Pal. I have started remembering to put in my food and exercise on a daily basis and that has really kept me on track. I wanted to get back into the habit of using the free version of the app before I tried out the paid version. Since I am now in the habit I will be starting my paid month long trial (that is me paying for the app instead of the free version, no one is actually paying me to try the app) in November. I think nit will be quite helpful going into the holidays actually and I am kind of excited to get that started.

Today it wasn’t that exciting to see the same number appear on the scale but it is understandable and not something I am overly worried about. I am hoping that if I keep doing what i know I should be doing, that number will change and I will be slowly easing my way into a healthy weight number.

And that is where I really want to be.

The Stats:

Starting Weight: 246.0 lbs

Last Week’s Weight: 235.7 lbs

This Week’s weight: 235.7 lbs

This week’s Change: No Change.

Lost over all: 10.3 lbs

and so we keep on. I know that I am doing the right things, I just need to have faith that the right things will eventually get me where I need to be. And if they don’t then i will go to my doctor and have a conversation about adjusting what is wrong so that I am doing right again. But for now, I understand why the scale didn’t move, even if it was disappointing. So minor disappointment but no anxiety over this week. It’s not fabulous, but it could be worse. have a great Friday everyone.

Fall Sale! 25% Off Sitewide

25% Off

Tea Time with Green Pomegranate from The Art of Tea

You know, there are several things I like about having an afternoon tea during the work day. First off is that the tea gives me a moment of quiet calm to reflect on how the day is going and to look at my schedule. While the tea steeps I can look over my to do list and see what still needs to be done and prioritize the remainder of my afternoon.

In addition, because I don’t really add much, if anything to my tea, it is a very low cal way to fill me up to keep me from snacking mid afternoon. Some afternoons there are snacks, but on the afternoons when i have tea, I tend to skip them as I am full of tea.

I also like having that something warm when it is cold and blustery outside and as the weather is once again leaning away from summer, I think I am going to enjoy that even more.

Plus I get to use some of the pottery and china I haven’t used in a while. (I couldn’t find my exact teapot for sale, but the English Tea shop does have plenty of sets of tea for one if you are interested. They are on sale and were the place with the most variety that I found when I went looking for a version of mine) Today’s pot and cup combo was actually perfect for The Art of Tea’s Green Pomegranate blend. The pot sits on top of the cup making it nice and neat for desk top use.

This Green Pomegranate Tea Blend is described as…

TASTING NOTES: FRESH, SWEET, TART

Sweeten your senses with a tart and tangy rush to the palate from this pomegranate green tea. Select organic green tea is hand tossed in a large wok, dried to perfection, then carefully blended with organic raspberries and essence of pomegranate.

*Due to global supply chain shortages, we are currently unable to source raspberry bits, and therefore, are not able to include raspberry bits in this blend. Please note that the flavor profile will remain unchanged and that we will return to our original recipe as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

The Art of Tea

So alas, my blend did not have raspberry bits in it, however, it did have the distinct taste of raspberry. In fact, the dry tea back smelled very much of raspberry. What was interesting is as the tea steeped, notes of pomegranate began to rise. when I poured out the first cup, the tea smelled of both of the fruits and I thought that it was going to be a little sweet.

It has a tiny bit of fruity sweetness, but the pomegranate has that tart taste to it. The raspberry seemed to provide the greener notes. It was more like the scent you get from raspberry leaves than the actual fruit. While I drank my cup plain today, I could see where a little dab of honey would be a good addition to the cup. We have a local honey in our pantry right now that I think would be a little too strong of a taste to blend with this mix. I think it might over power it. I think a honey from the spring, maybe orange or apple blossom based, would probably work best with this mix. i would again keep the additions light with just a tiny drop of honey though.

I don’t know where you are but here, the spring honey is lighter in taste than the summer honey is. I think yours may depend on what grows in your area (and when). I know the Art of tea sells honey sticks, but I haven’t actually tried them. I love honey sticks and our local producer has honey sticks in the spring and not later in the summer, so I usually stock up then, but I ran out actually. (we also use a lot of honey when we are sick and this summer’s bout of covid sort of knocked out our honey stash as we tried to combat sore throats.)

I didn’t add anything to today’s tea and I really did enjoy the tart, almost dry taste that was left on my tongue. I know that is a strange way to describe it but with really tart fruits, like pomegranate I always seem to have an almost dry sensation on my tongue after consuming. This tea produced that. I know this tea was supposed to have raspberry bits and I think that if they were added it would give this tea blend a sweetness rather than the greenness of the leaves. While I am sure I would like it, I really enjoyed this cup. while the Coconut Crème I can see myself serving for desert, this Green Pomegranate is the sort of fruity but not overly sweet type of tea that I prefer. And at only medium caffeine, it won’t make me jittery as I go back to work this afternoon. All in all a good, well rounded tea blend.

Snacktime: Broth Concentrate

This may seem like a strange snacktime post but I have to say that sometimes a warm cup of broth can be the best thing. A lot of my meal prep and planning go into making certain that I have healthy meals in a certain calorie level. I watch my proteins and my carbs as well when I am planning. This way I get the nutrients that i need and generally my food tastes pretty good.

However because the work week is so hectic and lunchtime so short, there is often a craving for something deeper. Here is where the concentrates really help out. A broth concentrate is basically a flavorful broth that has been boiled down to a gel like consistency.

You can buy them in boxes like this one pictured in a variety of flavors, including vegetarian ones). My personal favorite is the pho Chicken Broth Concentrate. There are not only a variety of flavors but a variety of brands. To be honest i really haven’t found that much difference in taste between the less and more expensive ones. This one happened to be on sale at the grocery store around the corner so I stocked up. I think typically the box sells for around $1.50 and contains four packets.

While I will for a dinner, dilute this into a stock pot and add all the delicious veg and noodles making it a full meal, I often find this is good as either a snack or a lunch time on the go. I take an insulated thermos and pour boiling water over the concentrate, stir and pop on the lid. I find my Teami mug perfect for this actually. It is made for tea but it works really well for broth.

Sipped slowly this broth feels far more filling than it actually is. One packet has only 25 calories. It feels like it should have at least a hundred more. It does have a high salt content so I do then to limit consumption to once a week at most and on the days when I drink it i tend to add several extra cups of water to my personal daily intake level.

For me soup has always had a comforting element to it. I think because the best soups seem to take all day to simmer. For me this is a way to get that comfort with out a lot of extra calories added to the day’s diet. It is also a good way to liven up a dinner that requires broth. While I always watch the salt content, for the occasional comforting snack or lunch break, this is a very good option to have on hand.



Snacktime: No Cow Protein Bar Lemon Meringue Pie

As I am sure i have mentioned before, snacktime is for me, one of the best ways to keep on track with my diet. A small snack around two in the afternoon really helps. I can convince myself to have a lighter lunch because I know I’m getting a little treat later in the afternoon and it keeps me from being too hungry at dinner time. My biggest dietary problem is portion control. I generally eat good foods and cook most of my meals at the house, I just some times eat bigger portions than I should. Snacks help me control my portions.

Part is because of the calories they impart, but part is psychological. I make sure that while the snack i choose has limited calories (I try not to go too far over a hundred) it is also something that is a tasty treat so that I feel like I’ve been bad, even when I haven’t.

With protein bars, you really have to watch the calories, for example this No Cow Lemon Meringue Pie Protein bar that I am trying today has 190 calories in it so I knew going in that I would only be eating half today and half tomorrow. In general I like to slice the bar in half and only talk half with me while the other half ends up in a zip top bag for the next day.

Now I am not a vegan and I am not a vegetarian. I do limit my meat intake to at most once a week (technically red meat we only eat maybe once a month at this point, but we eat fish once a week). My lunches are almost always vegetarian and at least three dinners a week are vegetarian. I love both cheese and charcuterie but i do limit them and make sure when i do indulge I go for higher quality.

The best way to get me to try anything is to make it lemon meringue pie flavored. To be honest I saw the bar in the rack at the grocery and thought “I’m low on snacks, oh Lemon Meringue Pie flavor, you shall be mine.” And then it ended up in the cart. When I put the groceries away i noticed the No Cow part and realized there was no dairy in them. Then I tried to recall if dairy was normal. Then I realized that in bar format I tend to go for the Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bar which is of course not vegan because of the honey but has no dairy in it, but isn’t a protein bar either. Then I spiraled down a protein bar/dairy internet rabbit hole that I suggest you avoid.

The end result is that I love lemon meringue pie. It is my favorite desert and if you can give me something sweet and tart and reminiscent of that decadent dessert then I don’t care if it is vegan or not. So let’s take a look at the No Cow Protein Bar shall we?

According to the website it is…

Dairy Free, 22g Plant Protein, 1g Sugar, 18g Fiber, 190 Calories, Certified Gluten-Free and Kosher, Non-GMO Project Verified, Soy Free, Vegan, Made with pea and rice protein, stevia, and monk fruit, A perfect balance between tangy lemon and a slice of meringue pie. WE threw in some pea protein crisps for added texture too. Try not to salivate., Sweet as pie … high protein, low sugar pie. No Cow. No Bull. No Whey!™

No Cow

Taking the bar from the pack, it looks and feels like it is made with playdoh. It has the exact same texture as if I rolled a piece of playdoh in my hands to make a snake. it does have a pleasing lightly lemon/graham cracker scent to it which I thought was a good start. Biting into it is a bit like biting into a Fig Newton.

Does it taste of tangy lemon? Is it sweet as pie? No.

Chewing it it remains a fig newton like consistency but it tastes like sand. You know how when you go to the beach occasionally you get sand in your mouth? Delete the grittiness, but keep the taste. Add a slight hint of lemon, as though while you had a mouth full of sand a lemon went rolling by on the beach in front of you and you have the flavor of this bar.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Now I knew it wasn’t going to taste exactly like pie. I understand the low sugar aspect. But I figured the worst that would happen would be that it would taste just of lemons. I like lemon, so that wouldn’t be bad.

This was like a cruel joke.

Again, I may not be vegan but I have had plenty of yummy tasting vegan snacks. this simply wasn’t one of them. They should have at least been able to make it taste like lemon. Normally I like to look for the redeeming qualities in something, because most things do have them. I honestly can’t find the plus. It wasn’t good on any level.

Packing something with good for you things only works if you can make it taste good enough to eat. I couldn’t even get through the half that I earmarked for today’s snack. No Cow was a major disappointment.

Save 10% sitewide at Art of Tea, coupon code: AOTAFFILIATE10 (Excluding gift cards and subscriptions)

Weekly Weight: April No Scale Continues

Today I was actually relieved not to have to get on the scale. We had company last weekend and to be good hosts we brought in things we normally wouldn’t have in the house. Much of the week we have been dealing with left overs just to clear them out of the pantry. One of the things I have noticed though is the sugar intake.

I long ago cut out sodas from my normal day. We will keep a six pack of mini ginger ales in the cabinet, but to be honest, a six pack will last several months and then more than likely one can will be incorporated into a Friday night cocktail (Sometimes even a mocktail I really like taking one of those cans pouring it into a glass and adding a drop of sour cherry syrup to it and calling that my Friday Cocktail.)

We had three 12 can (regular sized) boxes on hand for company. My baby took one box to work just for meetings. I had a couple earlier in the week because they were there but after I realized the sugar was affecting me and my sleep patterns, i stopped drinking it. It is one of those things I simply don’t think about any more. People talk about how sugary drinks are bad for diets, but since I rarely indulge I focus more on salt and fat when I think about diets. Also my big weakness is cheese rather than chocolate so I know I can walk away from the sweets more easily than the savory.

It also helps that we don’t bring it into the house. But this week it was there. and because it was just there I indulged. I had one of those moments where I realized how much grocery shopping affects my diet. Simply put, you can’t eat what isn’t in the house. I know that sounds like a foolish statement to make but it was really brought home to me this week. This week I ate things simply because they were there. Why bother to add a little flavoring to water if the soda is right there taking up space? Why cut up celery sticks if there is a bag of chips right there? Do I know the other stuff is better for me? Of course, but the other stuff can be consumed with no effort or thought. And since we prepared things for company instead of preparing snacks and other things for the week, I hadn’t helped myself out by doing the prep work early like i usually do.

It was a bad week for food, but an eye opening one. even when you realize that what you by matters, sometimes you just need a hard reminder that you are the gatekeeper. You are the one who decides what to bring into the house and you are the one who ultimately decides what you will eat based on what you bring into the house. I knew that. Of course I knew that. But sometimes, it is really good to have that hard reminder. This week more than anything else, that was what I got. Sometimes, I just need things spelled out for me.

Hopefully it helps you too if you are on a similar get healthy journey with weight loss.