Doing What I Do Best

& that would be finding new products on the grocery store shelves! After all, I really want to work for a food company so it is best I keep up to date with new trends ;) I’ll keep this short & sweet with just the name and my rating. Want more details? Just ask and I could talk your ear off about any of ‘em. I wish I was kidding…

Campbell’s Chunky Kickin’ Buffalo-Style Chicken SoupsoupRating: 4 Coffee Beans

The Simply Bar – Cinnamon Pecancinnamonpecan Rating: 1 Coffee Bean

Kashi’s Garlic Pesto Pita Crispsgarlic Rating: 5 Coffee Beans

Special K Brownie Bites – Blondieblondie Rating: 2 Coffee Beans

Any good products I should know about?

Lose, Win

We all have those brands that we gravitate to. Personally, I’ve always been an Amy’s, Kashi, Evol & Cedar Lane girl when it comes to frozen meals. They very rarely let me down in terms of flavor, texture and nutrition. This held true for Cedar Lane. Everything I tried tasted fantastic and dare I say, almost like homemade. Sadly, the morning I sat down with this bad bay turned into a major disappointment

I mean, it sounded promising. Spinach, roasted tomatoes and potatoes along with some eggs…sign me up! Eggs just taste amazing with spinach and tomatoes so naturally I thought this would be epic. Yeah no.

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 This bake even looked promising. You can see the eggs, abundant spinach and roasted tomatoes. Under that was a layer of warm potatoes. The smell in the house was amazing. My stomach started to growl because it smelled that. good. Unfortunately there was no flavor. I’m not even talking bland. This Egg White dish tasted like nothing. I even added heaps of basil & garlic powder and it didn’t help. The only redeeming factor was the soft pillowey texture of the potatoes.

1 Coffee Bean – Hands down.

However, there was one (okay maybe 5) redeeming factors that went into my breakfast. It was these sweet delicious things

I turned this recipe into mini muffins, because lets me honest, everything taste better in muffin form ;) The Justin’s Maple Almond Butter ended the meal on a sweet note.

Moral of the story: always end breakfast with a little treat.

Macro Managing

Suffice to say, it has been one heck of a summer. I had an awesome internship experience with a fabulous RD, caught up with old high school friends, shopped for my apartment (!) and spent quality time with my family. Oh and I got to spend a week in paradise for the week, aka Hilton Head. Life is good, but I am itching to get back to school because Virginia Tech is one of my favorite places on earth. Not to mention I am missing my roommate & friends like crazy. Oh and ABP Coffee, but that is to be expected. Since life has been a tad crazy, I haven’t been too crazy in the kitchen but I did find time to heat up my favorite Macrovegetarian meals.

Udon Noodles

I could pretty much sum this box up in one word: ginger. Seriously, the ginger flavor was overpowering. Let me preface by saying that I am not a huge ginger lover. Sure, I love small amounts of the spice added to my stirfrys for some Asian flare, but not to the point where its all I can taste. For this noodle box, all you can taste is the ginger. While its not terrible, I just would not get this again. One the plus side, the noodles were nice and al-dente, just the way I like my pasta. Also, there were huge cabbage chunks for a nice crunch.

Rating: 2 Coffee Beans

Shanghai Dumpling Box

Welp. I hate to say it, but I think I found a meal that I would never eat again. These dumplings had a weird taste – they were bitter and minty. The mint flavor was a little overpowering. It wasn’t the kind of mint flavor that cleanses your palate either –  more of the “oh my goodness why does my food taste so bitter” kind of mint. Sure, the dumplings were nice and soft and made with whole wheat flour (not to mention the box contained 80% of my daily calcium!) but the strong bitterness just overpowered the great texture of this meal. Oh well, you win some & you loose some.

Rating: 1 Coffee Bean

Have you ever bought a product by a favorite brand that you just did not like?

You Let Me Down Joe

Trader Joe’s just so happens to be one of my favorite grocery stores.

Trader Joe’s just so happens to sell the most amazing frozen foods/meals in my opinion. From stirfried veggie egg rolls, Channa Masala to Quesedillas & tofu nuggets, just to name a few. In a nutshell, they’ve pretty much got food for every cuisine.

Trader Joe’s just so happens to have a new frozen meal that I thought would be perfect for lunch.

As I have mentioned before, I am picky about Italian food since both my grandmother and mother grew up in Italy. Thus, I basically get authentic Italian food on a daily basis when mom makes her sauce. However, the promise of spinach & ricotta stuffed inside pasta shells with gooey cheese melted on top skewed my judgement. I should have just walked away, but alas, this meal went into my basket.

Looks promising, right? Well don’t be fooled. I guess for only 270 calories, it shouldn’t have surprised me to only see 2 measly shells. Sure they were big, but the picture on the box makes it appear like there is more than two….three perhaps. Disappointing really doesn’t begin to describe this Italian classic. Not only was the filling inside the shells extremely bitter, but there also seemed to lack ricotta. Basically there was no ricotta and boatload of spinach. The tomato sauce was bland and tasted like it came from the jar. I guess the only highly of the meal was the nice al dente texture of the pasta and the melted mozzarella cheese. Meh.

Rating: 1 Coffee Bean

Zone Bar – White Chocolate Macadamia Nut

As mentioned in a previous post, bars are a true enjoyment food for me. I know half of them are considered a “glorified candy bar” but at least they have some vitamins and minerals, right? ;) Regardless, when a new flavor comes out, I jump at the chance to try it. White chocolate macadamia nut seems to be the “comeback” flavor. Clif, Luna and now Zone all have it thrown into their mix. I’ll preface this review by stating that I typically do not enjoy zone bars, but the bar fanatic that I am I needed to try it asap.

Like chocolate and raspberry, white chocolate and macadamia nuts were meant for each other – just not in this zone bar. The bar is your standard zone bar meaning it feels dense in the wrapper and looks like a chocolate covered soy protein nuggets. Pretty decent size for only 210 calories.

Texture: This bar certainly was chewy and crunchy! Not going to lie when I tell ya’ll that my mouth got a wee bit tired after a while. Why those soy nuggets take so long to chew is beyond me. If eating this bar with your hands, make sure you have a napkin handy because the coating rubs off easily.

Taste: Welp, this was disappointing. Not only did Zone name this bar wrong, but it had no flavor what so ever. I did not get a hint of white chocolate. Sure, there were white chocolate chips scattered throughout the bar but they did not enhance or contribute to a white chocolate sensation. I didn’t see any macadamia nuts nor did I get that rich, decadent flavor they usually bring. If you blind folded me, I could not even tell you what it tasted like other than it left a really icky protein aftertaste. If you’ve ever had a straight up protein bar – you know what I’m talking about.

Rating: 1 coffee bean

Nutrition & Ingredients can be found here.