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Tag Archives: food

Food Huggers Review

20 May

I bought this weird Food Huggers thing ages ago for avocados and then stopped buying avocados, so it has been sitting in my kitchen all this time…depressed, alone, not being used, adrift and without meaning in it’s life…its sad really. To make it up to the little avocado Food Hugger I did the only humane thing I could think of…I bought avocados.

Oh the sacrifices I make in life *big epic sigh* πŸ˜‰

So this is what it looks like…obviously.

It comes with two sizes in the package, the light green is the more realistic size, the dark green is to make you envious of places in the world that apparently get gigantic avocados in their stores. I have already donated the dark green one because no joke, I have never seen an avocado that would be large enough for that hugger, especially since these things are supposed to have a snug fit. Don’t think yoga pants snug, think leggings snug.

The idea behind this creation is that you can keep half your avocado fresh for longer than without. I didn’t really believe that claim but I will admit to being a sucker for tupperware and similar items that are shaped like the food they are meant to hold so really, I was doomed the moment I saw this thing. I am after all the person who bought a tomato shaped tomato holder and who keeps convincing herself she doesn’t reeeeally need the onion shaped onion holder even though it would look so cute in my fridge!

Anyways…

The avocado food hugger has some limitations, the main one being finding an avocado that ya know, fits. The hugger is supposed to be super snug on your avocado, it needs to make a seal. The first time I tried it my avocado was too small so there was no actual seal made and this was the result…

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Not exactly what you want your over priced avocado to look like the next day. I would have done better to wrap it in saran wrap but hey, ya gotta live and learn right?

Next time I bought avocados I managed to find not one, but two avocados that fit in to this thing, yay me!

Here is how it looks when it is properly fit on to an avocado…

You can see where I push in with my thumb there is actually quite a bit of space where the pit is. The Food Hugger itself got a really good seal around the peel of the avocado, thought it was a bit of a battle getting it on there. I say battle like it was this big epic thing when really it was me, cursing under my breath as the avocado kept almost slipping completely out of my hands while I tried to cram it inside a green sorta stretchy avocado condom.

I guess the air in the pit area didn’t matter too much because the next day that half of the avocado looked like this…

avocado 3

Not bad at all. Sure, I lost some of the avocado to the inside of the hugger, but not too much, and yeah there is some browning of the avocado but c’mon, you can’t expect magic to happen, this is just a green silicone food hugger, not a fairy sprinkling fairy dust over everything.

The second avocado I ended up leaving in the hugger, in the fridge, for a couple days. Oops! It didn’t end well. When I took the hugger off the avocado there was mold around the edge of the pit where it meets the flesh of the avocado, there was excessive darkness to the avocado, basically, it was not edible and in to the compost it went.

That was a sad day for me. *sniffle*

In general I think the Food Hugger for avocados is fine, it sure makes the half of the avocado you put in the fridge look cuter than if you wrapped it in saran wrap, and there is less waste since it is washable and I don’t know about you but I tend to throw out saran wrap once I take it off of whatever I wrapped it around. So yeah, environmentally, it is probably the better option, but sadly it didn’t extend the life of my avocado past what the saran wrap was able to do.

It did however give me a good excuse to buy avocados; for that alone I think I am happy I bought it! πŸ˜‰

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Pulled Chicken

17 Nov

I cooked and it didn’t suck! Yay!

I saw a recipe on YouTube I wanted to try but couldn’t find one of the main ingredients when I was in the store today so I randomly decided to try making pulled sweet & smoky chicken in my slow cooker.

I’ve had my slow cooker for a while but never quite got around to using it. My intention was to try out slow cooker desserts, of which I have heard many a good thing! but well, yeah, didn’t happen, shrug.

But hey, why not try cooking in it today, right?

The inspiration for this meal was this…

Sorry for the ripped package, I forgot to take a picture before I oh so delicately opened it lol This is Club House brand seasoning mix for sweet & smoky pulled chicken. Mmm!

The recipe on the back made it seem super easy. Boneless skinless chicken breast, mixed with ketchup, water, brown sugar, and the seasoning mix. Pop it all in the slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Remove it from the slow cooker and tear the chicken with two forks, put it back in the slow cooker to fully coat the chicken and bring it back up to a hot temperature, then serve on a bun.

I did everything the recipe said to, except I halved it. I own a small slow cooker, and I’m cooking for one person over here, an 8 portion dish is a tad much for me!

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See? Tiny slow cooker!

Oh! I lied! I also kinda changed the meat, but not really. It is supposed to be 2 pounds of chicken breast, I used 1 pound of chicken breast fillets. Same bird, same section of the bird, just cut a bit, and cheaper. I thought the thinner cut might be the better choice because of the size of my slow cooker, also, it came in packages closer to the size I needed where as the chicken breasts were all packaged in larger amounts and I didn’t want a bunch of extra raw chicken lying around, what the hell would I do with that?

Since the original recipe makes 8 portions and I made half the recipe even I can do the math that means what I made would equal to 4 portions. Lemme tell ya, it made 4 reeeeally big portions!

I put the entire contents of the meat and sauce in a measuring cup to see how much it made, it was 2.5 ounces or 2 1/4 cups which I attempted to then measure out, on my kitchen scale, so I’d properly divide the meat and sauce but um yeah, that so didn’t work…sooooo I guesstimated *rolls eyes*

So here is how much ended up on my sandwich…

pulled-chicken-sandwich

And here is how much ended up in my tupperware container…

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I suppose if you don’t care for meat, or pulled meat, or meat in sauces, the above pictures won’t look good to you but to me, they look delicious. Mmm!

The dish turned out quite good. Β πŸ™‚ Easy enough even I could make it, and a tasty end result, yay!

For all you Weight Watcher people out there, one serving is 7 SP. For those of you not on Weight Watchers, I have not calculated the nutritional information, sorry! πŸ˜‰

I didn’t do anything fancy with it, just put it on some toast and made a toasted sandwich. I know in restaurants they usually put coleslaw on pulled meat sandwiches, and it is crazy delish, but I didn’t think to get any and lets get real here, I didn’t need to add even more to this sandwich, making it even more unhealthy lol

I’ll probably eat one more serving of it tomorrow then freeze the rest. I may really like this sauce but that doesn’t mean I want to eat it 4 days in a row, seems a tad excessive.

The ease of making this meal, and how good it made my apartment smell makes me think I should use the slow cooker way more often. I just might have to try some experimenting over here! πŸ˜€

Try It Tuesday: Butternut Squash & Quinoa Pilaf

23 Aug

Oh Jamie Oliver, Β how you tempt me!

It seems every time I go grocery shopping and am in the frozen aisle I see a Jamie Oliver product I want to try, dangerous not only to my eating plan but also to my budget lol Lucky for me I seem to spot his items when they are on sale, or maybe they are always on sale…nah, that can’t be it!

Once again I bought the item thinking it was a meal on its own and it turned out it is actually meant to be a side dish. I figured I’d try eating is as such which meant I had to cook an entire meal -the horrors!

Here is what I started with…

Sorry it isn’t in focus, I would have sworn it was when I took the picture and the box is in the recycling now so too late to try again, oops.

Like the box says, this is a butternut squash & quinoa pilaf with mixed rice, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. The box makes a point of saying how it is made with whole grains and contains no preservatives or artificial flavours, so ya know, if that matters to you, there ya go. πŸ˜‰

When frozen it looks like this…

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Pretty decent huh? I chose to microwave it because (1) the box says I can do that and it’ll be fine and (2) my oven was busy cooking other things and coordinating multiple food items in the oven is not a strong skill of mine…something always ends up either burned or not fully cooked, ugh.

So yeah, this sucker got microwaved and turned out great! I paired it with some chicken from M&M Meat Shops and McCain’s Super Fries. Random? Yes. Tasty? Also yes. πŸ™‚

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A portion is 1/3 of the package, or 125 grams. I weighed my portion out then portioned out the remainder of the package so it would be ready for when I wanted the leftovers and there is actually more in the package than three full servings. Not a big deal, just a large spoonful over but if you are really strict about portions you’ll end up having a bit left over. I may have eaten the random spoonful and pretended it didn’t count but ya know, that is me, you do you! If you follow Weight Watchers the Smart Points are 6 per serving.

It isn’t some flavour packed dish, not that I was expecting that, I mean c’mon, it is butternut squash, quinoa and rice…none of those are particularly flavourful items. Having said that, it tasted good. It isn’t covered in some sauce or trying to pretend it is anything other than what it is, which is a nice change for packaged, microwavable food lol. I did put a spoonful of salsa on the left over serving I had the next day at lunch and it took it from good to yum, but you have to keep in mind I love salsa so I’m biased. πŸ˜›

I’d put this on my buy again list, as long as it is on sale! πŸ˜‰

 

Weight Watchers Wednesday

29 Jun

Last week we talked about decluttering, we were all given the challenge of decluttering something in our world.

I started with the bathroom but found I wasn’t really getting rid of anything, just cleaning, so I moved to the kitchen and decluttered the drawers, the recycling and the fridge. It is amazing how many things I could permanently remove from the kitchen drawers, they are sooooo tidy now! No more rummaging around through all sorts of things looking for a sharp knife or a clip to hold a bag closed, its a bit amazing how much my annoyance levels while in the kitchen have dipped from that alone.

My masterpiece was the fridge, I don’t know why, and it is really weird, but I love cleaning the inside of fridges. Freezers too, but mostly fridges. I took everything out, sorted through each item, actually read the expiration dates on my condiments (I was horrified at how many were waaaay past their dates!) and put things back in an organized fashion. Proteins all in one spot, fruit and veg in another, dairy products in a third spot, you get the idea.

I’d say I did well with last weeks challenge. πŸ™‚

However, food wise I obviously dropped the ball, sigh. I only lost 0.2 pounds this week, putting me at a total weight loss of 3 pounds in two weeks. Pathetic. 😦 The lady at the weigh-in was trying to be nice and telling me that was good an stuff but let’s be real here, 0.2 pounds down is not good, it is, well, to re-use a word, pathetic. I know what I did wrong, super early in the week I ate pie, lots of pie, I wrote about that pie and it was freakin delicious, but also super high in points (something I didn’t check on until I had eaten a lot of the pie, *rolls eyes*) and I spent the rest of the week trying to make up for that pie but obviously failing.

I’ve already promised myself that this week I will do better.

ill do better

So now for this weeks meeting, we talked about two things, being encouraging and planning.

Create a support system for yourself, make sure you have people that are encouraging and also, be encouraging to yourself. I don’t know about you but I tend to be super mean to myself, waaaay meaner than I would ever be to somebody else, and that is something I guess I should work on. So, next time you are engaging in mean self-talk or putting yourself down in some way, stop it! Find a positive thing about yourself to say to yourself. Which yeah, ok, I know sounds way easier to do than it actually is. And sure, it will probably take a while because if you are like me I bet you think negative thoughts about yourself without even being consciously aware of it. But try, make a little goal for yourself this week, when you catch yourself being mean to yourself take a moment, breathe deeply, maybe close your eyes so you can focus, and flip that thought around.

 

Something that got brought up was one lady said how she had a bunch of clothes in her closet from when she was skinnier and while she was decluttering she decided to get rid of them. She found it hard because she was emotionally attached to some of the pieces but she was quite a bit larger than any of those articles of clothing and if she was being realistic, there was no point in keeping them. Then a second lady chimed in, said she had gone through something similar but while she was getting rid of her smaller sized clothes months ago she realized that when she loses the weight and gets down to the size of those clothes she will have earned new clothes.

I never really thought of that before, earning clothes. I, like most people who struggle with weight, have clothes from when I was thinner that I’d like to get back in to. I always saw keeping them as a way to motivate myself, or at least track my progress. But what this lady said resonated with me. Sure, maybe keep a couple items but not all of them. When you’ve put in all the work needed to get down one, two, ten sizes you have damn well earned the right to buy new clothes and not settle for all the old ones that you stuffed in the back of your closet!

The second topic was about planning. Specifically planning for parties, get togethers, trips, things like that. The upcoming long weekend, yay Canada Day!, is what seems to be prompting this weeks topic, apparently a lot of people party in the summer, shocking! πŸ˜‰

Sooooooo there are a couple of ways to plan for upcoming social events. One lady said she saves up all her weekly points so she can use them at the party. That is definitely one way to go about it.

Other suggestions for how to plan were more focused on using your planning to prevent you from going crazy with the food and drinks at the parties.

Suggestions were:

  • bring your own food (if appropriate) so you know the exact points of what you are eating. This is easy if it is a potluck type thing but can also be done with pretty much any gathering being held at a person’s home, maybe check with the host in advance though just to make sure they are ok with this.
  • if it is a potluck or buffet type of deal walk the entire length of the table first, see all the offerings, and decide what items you are willing to eat that are high in points and find ways to minimize their effect on you. So say you really want that slice of cake, then maybe take a larger portion of salad and a smaller portion of foods with points for your entree.
  • once you have seen the foods being offered pull out your Pocket Guide or your WW app and look up the points of the foods that you are thinking about. If you are leaning towards eating the potato salad checking the app and seeing that one serving is 9 points might deter you from that choice, or at least help you to take a smaller portion.
  • focus on the fun, not the food. Instead of going to parties and focusing on what foods you are going to eat or how good things taste or how much wine you might indulge in focus on the friends you get to hang out with, the games you get to play, the time you are giving yourself to enjoy life. Don’t just sit at a table and chat with whomever is willing to sit near you, get up, walk around, the simple act of walking around and chatting with people will burn more calories than sitting in one spot chatting and it will help you feel more engaged in the party, more a part of the fun.

Our final thought of the day was Don’t Give Up! Maybe this week wasn’t a great weigh-in but forget about it. Last week is done, it is over, there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t wallow in the number on the scale, don’t keep thinking how you wanted to do better, don’t think there is no point to continuing with the program.

Don’t. Give. Up.

The act of trying counts. The act of working towards a goal counts. Sure maybe not every week will be easy, not every week will give you the results you want but remember the non scale victories. Remember that you feel better about yourself when you are trying. Remember that this whole being healthier thing is a journey and its up to you to make that journey positive. Remember that one week doesn’t represent the entire process, you started for a reason, probably for a lot of reasons, when you find yourself faltering remember those reasons and why they are important to you. And whatever you do, don’t give up! πŸ™‚

dont give up

Try It Tuesday: Chipotle Black Beans

28 Jun

I missed last weeks Try It Tuesday, not because I didn’t have something to write about but because time was not on my side. Lets get back on track shall we? πŸ™‚

Jamie Oliver’s Brazilian-style Chipotle Black Beans- it is a stew with chunks of sweet potato and sweet red peppers. Lemme tell ya, none of the “sweet” veg took away from the spicy which maybe I would have clued in to ahead of time if I had noticed the two little jalapenos on the bottom area of the front of the box. Apparently Jamie has a warning system that I didn’t notice, oops!

This is a side dish, something else I also didn’t notice and according to Jamie is best served with “crispy griddled chicken thighs, brown rice, fresh greens and a spicy tomato salsa or in a fluffy baked potato with grated strong cheddar and a dollop of soured cream”. Despite Jamie’s so thoughtful suggestions I went my own way and ate it as a stand alone stew – I’m such a rebel! πŸ˜‰ lol

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It heats up the same way all frozen meals do, take the tray out of the box, puncture the plastic top, pop in the oven for a while and boom! Food that took no effort on my part! This one takes 40-45 minutes at 350F. I could have microwaved it but I am already cheating by heating up a frozen meal, putting it in the microwave is just taking this whole lazy “cooking” thing too far.

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Not the prettiest thing when frozen, and I kinda failed at the whole piercing the plastic thing but meh, it all worked out in the end, shrug.

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I don’t know about you but I think that looks goooooood! Maybe it is because I am a sucker for sweet potatos, and stew, and easy cooking…who knows? After it is pulled out of the oven you are supposed to let it sit for a couple minutes and that helps it thicken up a bit. I left it a little longer than the box suggested because I like stews to be quite thick and it worked, it also made it so I didn’t have to blow on the spoon before every bite which was nice cause ya know, burning my mouth is not a thing I enjoy.

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It however lost some of its charming, yummy look once put in to a bowl, sigh. Now it looks like green mush, or slime, or something icky. It tastes way better than it looks, honest!

I tried some of it on its own and it was too spicy for me, sadness. I like spice but there has to be flavour along with the spice, not juuuust spice. So I added some ranch dressing to it, weird yes, but it works, lol, and it helped. If I had cheese in the apartment I would have topped it with that and I bet that would have cut down just enough on the spice while adding flavour and take it up that extra notch.

The entire package fit in to one of my small bowls so if you are eating it on your own it is a good size to be a meal by itself but if you are sharing it you’ll definitely need something else to go with it -perhaps one of Jamie’s suggestions?

 

Try It Tuesday:Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

14 Jun

So obviously this isn’t the first time I have eaten Strawberry Rhubarb pie, it is just the first time I have eaten this particular pie. It is from M&M Meat Shops and currently costs $9.99. If I remember correctly mine was on sale so it cost a bit less, who doesn’t like a sale? πŸ˜‰

First off, the finished product does not look nearly as good as the one on the package, the filling doesn’t hold its shape nearly that well. The filling is less chunky and more pureed, if that makes any sense? There is a lattice topping with the pastry but it is pretty lackluster, I mean c’mon, not like it is that hard to make the pie look pretty, this just looked lazy. Or maybe I am too harsh about the presentation of pies, meh, who knows? lol

To bake it you bring your oven to 350C, take the plastic wrapping off the pie, put the pie on a cookie sheet and pop it in to the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, then take it out and let it sit for 20 minutes. I am not certain why it needs such a long cooling down period, maybe they are worried about people being burned? lol Nah. I think it is most likely to give the filling time to solidify enough that it doesn’t completely ooze out when you cut a slice.

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frozen still wrapped in plastic

 

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fresh from the oven

The flavour was nice, had a stronger strawberry flavour than rhubarb and the strawberry seemed to more closely resemble jam rather than freshly chopped strawberries. Hell, I would have settled for frozen strawberries, thawed and cut, before being put in the filling but I guess I am asking too much from a commercially mass produced pie.

Even with the 20 minute cooling off period the pie was still warm-ish so I topped my piece with some ice cream and settled down to enjoy. πŸ™‚

It’s not that it wasn’t an okay pie, but I wouldn’t really recommend paying the ten bucks for it when you can find a better quality pie at a bakery or one of those stands that pop up with fresh home made pies for sale at completely reasonable prices. Or hell, you could always make one. Not to boast but I have made a better strawberry rhubarb pie from scratch wiiiiiith a more complex lattice top and if I can do it so can you!

In a pinch I guess it will suffice but you can find better so my advice to you is to keep searching! πŸ™‚

Try It Tuesday:Ancient Grains with Millet

7 Jun

I found something new at M&M Meat Shops, well new to me anyways, people who shop there often probably found this ages ago. It is a two serving dish of Ancient Grains with Millet and Vegetable Blend in Tomato Sauce…long enough name? Eesh. lol

It is a microwaveable dish, you just put this frozen squat tube shaped thing that doesn’t really look like food in the microwave and cook it on high for 3 minutes, then you squish it around with a spoon, microwave for 2 more minutes, stir, and let sit for 2 minutes. Easy peasy.

It costs $2.99 and containsΒ millet, steel-cut oats, brown rice, red and white quinoa with carrots, kale and onions in a tomato and roasted garlic sauce.

I bought this before I went low carb so it has been sitting in my freezer for a little while. I wasn’t feeling great today, not sick, just sorta “off” and I couldn’t face my normal food, all that protein, ugh, not today thanks. So I went searching for something that would most likely be gentle on my tummy and came across this.

I forgot to take a pic to show you the unattractive frozen blob it is prior to being popped in the microwave so here it is after the first 3 minutes…

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Aaaaaaand here it is once it is cooked and covered in salsa…

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Now yes, I realize I should have taken a picture before the salsa got put on top so you can see how it actually looks but I was only intending to put a small amount of salsa on so it shouldn’t have been a problem. However, I maaaay have gotten distracted and tilted the salsa jar too far and boom! salsa all over the ancient grains and millet hence ancient grains with millet and vegetable blend in tomato sauce covered in salsa…its like my own version of the dish! lol

It is quite bland, so the salsa made it tasty, you definitely need to put some sort of sauce or topping on this.

Nutrition wise it isn’t horrible but it isn’t great. Depending on what type of meal plan you follow this may or may not work for you. I would have expected it to have a higher fibre content considering all the grains and oats and whatnot that is in it but what do I know? I expected it to have an actual tomato sauce and it didn’t have that…advertising lies! πŸ˜‰

If you are okay with eating carbs and want to add some grains to your meal plan it would probably be a good side for you, I bet it would be nice paired with some salmon or even a seasoned chicken breast. πŸ™‚ For me though I probably won’t buy it again, too many carbs, not enough protein, and too bland for my taste. Not that I mind adding salsa or other condiments to things but I would prefer not to so I can save my calories for something more interesting…like cake! lol πŸ˜‰

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