Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Walden Farms Review - Too Good to be True?

Lest I say that when I heard about Walden Farm's products I was super curious.  I looked for this stuff everywhere and could only find it at my over priced natural foods market and on amazon.  In general, I would say that most of the products were a bit over $5 each.  They have chocolate and carmel sauce, a variety of salad dressings, PB and Jam, Ketchup, and BBQ.  When you are cutting your diet and these things are no longer permissible, this is like finding the holy grail. (Insert singing angels here.)

I started this quest with a couple of salad dressings.  I bought the honey Dijon, the berry vinaigrette, and the ceasar.  The first one that I've tried was the ceasar. It was flavorful, but still not quite what the original is. When I looked at the ingredients, I saw that it was pretty much made up of spices, flavor, vinegar, and thickening agent.  As this has no calories, sugar, fat, but has a slight amount of sodium I saw this as a free food. I went a little heavy with the dressing mostly because it poured out pretty quickly.  I placed the rest in the fridge and went on to try the berry.

I pause here to say that I ended up making sure that I put my name on the bottle.  I either used a ton due to the not so thick consistency or someone was sampling the goods.  I may be leaning now towards the consistency, especially having used a few of their products now.

The berry was awesome. Made those salads disappear!! Add a little goat cheese and you are all set.  So good. Still a noticeable liquid consistency, so I was a bit disappointed with that bit, as it was not as thick as a normal dressing.

I held off on the honey dijon as I was turning into salad with the amount I was consuming.

Low and behold I later found Walden Farms products at both Walmart and Fred Meyers (Kroger).  The price was still about the same.

I picked up some peanut butter, jam, ketchup, and bbq sauce.  I haven't gotten to the ketchup and bbq sauce as I am waiting for my camping trip to try them out.  I did however take a jab at the PB.

This was probably the worst Walden Farm's product that I've tried.  It is marked as being more of a mousse, which is the consistency. It was almost the same as Jello pudding snacks. And the taste wasn't very prominent. You would really need to be in a bind to go for this product.

The jam was better but still had a bit too much thinness to it.

As I go through the rest of my collection, I will update those items.

Till later

Friday, June 3, 2016

Hawaiian Macaroni Potato Salad Recipe

Macaroni-Potato Salad From Hawaii Magazine
(Serves 8)
½ lb. macaroni
8 hard-cooked eggs
3 red potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups mayonnaise
½ tsp.     ground allspice
½ tsp.     pepper
1 package frozen peas, thawed and drained (10 oz.)
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Separate egg yolks from egg whites. In a small bowl, mash yolks and chill. Chop egg whites; put into a large bowl with macaroni and potatoes. Stir in salt and vinegar; chill overnight.
Add egg yolks and remaining ingredients; gently mix into macaroni mixture. Chill.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Nutrisystem Fast 5 - Day 7!!!! Review

It finally happened. The end of the Fast 5 is done.  I had my moments, but overall it wasn't really as hard as I thought it was going to be.  For cravings, the most difficult was in the evening after I've already had dinner.  There is that large amount of space where you would generally fill it with boredom eating or general snacking.  I know my husband did, which did not help me.  He was, however, really good about not buying me any wine to drink.  If it's in the house, I tend to make some excuse so it was better to remove it.

Water during the weekend was also a large challenge.  I ran out of my favorite flavoring which is the SweetLeaf Water Drops in the peach mango flavor.  It's sweetened with stevia and has no artificial ingredients. I could guzzle a gallon of water no problem.  I went to the store this morning and bought a handful so I wouldn't be caught without.

The meals overall were tasty and the shakes weren't bad either.  They could use a bit of thickness.  I found some meals that were not going to be favorites, and now at least I can change my future order.  Right now I have all of my meals in a box which kind of works now, but not in the long run.  I may have to rearrange some stuff in my kitchen, or gather a weeks at a time to put in my cubbard.  All of my food supply is stored in the garage, an no real kitchen pantry.

I have to get my measurements done today and then I will fill them in for you. My weight went down exactly five pounds.  I know that for the rest of the time that I should be exoecting only 1-2 pound weight loss a week, but that's still awesome if you think that I could still lose 12 pounds before I leave for my vacation.  And don't forget that 10 pounds is supposed to equal 1 dress size.  I will be taking my dining book with me to remind me of what I can eat on my vaca as well.

To go over yesterday......

For breakfast I had the harvest nut bar. Small as the other bars, but had a sweet salty thing going for it. Overall I liked it.

For my veggie yesterday, I took a can of low sodium peas and simered them until hot.  A half can for lunch and the other half for dinner.

Lunch was the beans and ham soup.  It was pretty good, and it went with the peas really well.  It filled me up and was overall satisfied until snack time. Snack time I just had some veggies, because I was out and about and it was easy to order.

Dinner was the peas with the chili with beans.  Another excellent combo.  Pretty good for a chili from a container, but I wish it came with a bit of heat to it.  Next time I have this entree, I will add some chilies to it.

For today.... OMG it's my first day put out to sea.  I looked over my box to see what jumped at me. My husband came in and decided to help, bless him.  We both thought the blueberry muffin was a great choice.  I should have taken a picture, but I ended up gobbling it up and then realizing.  I will have to have a muffin tomorrow to show you the size.  They are really on the small side. Very good tasting and had a moist denseness to it.

Because I was running around this weekend, I ended up with extra energi-zing and nutricrush shakes, which I am going to use up.

For lunch I grabbed the three cheese chicken.  It is one of the paper cup ones that you fill with some water and then microwave.  I really wish you could just add boiling water and then wait for three minutes like ramen.  I could make that an experiment.  Sometimes getting in line for the microwave at work isn't appealing.

So I figured out on NuMi that you can actually chart more than the base water they want you to drink, which is awesome.  Also, when you go to add your meal, if you check it in at the beginning of the day or right before you make it, it gives you the option to scan your nutrisystem meal. It is so easy, instead of searching through a seriously long list of foods.

I'm already feeling more confident in myself with just a small weight loss. I'm looking forward to the rest of this journey.

P.S.  No, I'm still not sponsored so all of this is really just me and what I'm doing.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Nutrisystem Fast 5 - Day 6 Review

It's Saturday, and I knew that the weekend was going to be a bit harder.  I reinforced to my husband that he's kind of the only one that knows I'm on this plan, because we were going out to see my parents.

I should rewind and admit that I completely slept in this morning.  We were planning on leaving by 10, which would have given me time to have breakfast, my break shake right before leaving and then lunch with the parents, getting back home for the second shake.  Didn't happen.  I got up late, made sure that I had my breakfast bar, which was the peanut butter granola bar.  It was about the size of the apple strudel and it was so thick.  It was tasty enough, but almost a pain in the tuckas to eat. Not a top pick.

Off we went a little after 10, and I made him stop off to get me a coffee. Is it just me or is Starbucks getting too big for it's britches.  The coffee was a disappointment, but it was what I had.  I took a couple waters with me, but this entire trip, my water consumption was at a major low.

We got to my parents house and they all wanted to talk.  We finally got up to leave to go for lunch.  There were a couple choices, but a lot.  They live up north towards Willow and Talkeetna.  We decided to go too the Twisted Creek restaurant/brewery.  Seriously a great place in Talkeetna.  I did so awesome with the food that I am still very proud of myself. And instead of having a tasty brew I had a cup of tea and a glass of water.  I got the large green salad with grilled shrimp, and asked for red wine or balsamic vinegar, but I guess the guy was trying to do me a favor and offered up their vinaigrette.  I ended up eating the salad dry, but with the shrimp, cucumbers, and tomatoes it was still tasty.  My dad even said he would have ordered that salad.

By the time we got back into town I was hungry and it was almost dinner time.  I should have thrown a couple of extra waters into the truck for the trip, but then you're also dealing with needed to stop off at the non-existent break stops. Maybe it kind of worked out.

When we got back home I immediately steamed up some brussel sprouts and then heated up the beef stew and added it all together.  Maybe I'm weird, but I actually like brussel sprouts.  The beef stew however I was not all that fond of.  It reminded me of that cheap hormel stuff in the can.  Later I will go on to my next shipment and make sure it's removed.  It wasn't horrible, and I finished my meal, but why torture myself? I'm still overall impressed with the good flavors of the foods.  The beginning was going to be some trial and error when it came to my personal taste, and I did want to try some different flavors to not limit myself in the first place.

I'm starting to wind down for the night and enjoying my chamomile tea, so I will try to make sure that I get the photos in, but it might not be till Monday.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Nutrisystem Fast 5 - Day 5 Review

Somewhere along the way things got messed up with the meals. Perhaps it's where I changed teh bar for an entree, or it could be when I realized that I looked at the wrong page in the guide for half the day. Anyways, it's a great thing that all of these meals are interchangeable.  When I weighed myself it as flipping between what I was and the pound lower.  I'm not going to take the liberty to claim that pound, so we will just say that we stayed the same.  Also of note, is that I'm not going to the bathroom for #2 as much.  Peeing? Heck yes, every 5 minutes it seems, but not the rest. I know, TMI, but it's part of the deal. I might try to go a bit more leafy green on my veggies.

Today's meals minus dinner:

I woke up this morning and got myself to the gym.  I've been pretty good about my workouts, and when I couldn't get to the gym, I did something at home.  I work out harder at the gym, and I have the bonus of the trainer.  I got my gym membership when the gym was still new eons ago, so when I started going again my rate hadn't changed from $15/month.  I work for the state which also gives a discount (already applied).  The rate for my trainer is actually quite reasonable.  I signed a year contract and have 1/2 hour sessions.  Those sessions roll over for 90 days.  Training costs me about $230/month and I normally schedule my training 2X/week.

I received my Nutrisystem shipment yesterday. (I didn't take pics, but I will try to remember to take one later.) I was super excited to go through it and look at all of the flavors I had.  Some of which I did not remember requesting. Though I heard that they change things out without letting you know if it's in short supply.  My first shipment also came with another Fast 5. Along with being in short supply, my invoice stated that the eating guide to my plan wasn't available so they substituted it.  Seriously!?

I told myself to contact the support system at Nutrisystem.  I have the Core plan so it's included and I had a bunch of questions that I was unsure of. I was going to call, but ended up on the website and used the chat feature.  It also gives you an option to have a transcript of the conversation emailed to you, which I think is awesome to help you remember.  I got GabrielC, who was great. The response was super prompt and they answered all of my questions.  Like with my shipment, I received the fruit and the vanilla shakes to try out, how do you incorporate that? It doesn't really come with instructions. When I told them about the eating plan I got, they let me know that the replacement that they sent me was actually just like the one I was on and I could follow it. They sent it to me because it was the closest plan.  Yay.  They helped me clearly understand everything I needed to know.  Use them if you have the option!!! Why question for endless time when you can just ask?

This morning I had the apple strudel bar.  It was seriously small.  I went for it and it actually tastes pretty good.  It was a bit on the sweet side for me, so it might not be one of my top favorites for that, but I would easily stash this in my purse for some on the run ability.

I had the Energi-Zing shake during break.  It really does pep you up, but there is a noticeable lag later in the day.  After my shake, I ended up cleaning my desk. One of those projects I kept putting off but suddenly I had all this get up and go.

Lunch, I went downstairs and got a green salad (big today) which I used a mixture of balsamic and red wine vinegar as my dressing.  I like vinaigrette, and the loss of the EVOO is not a game changer for me.  This is of course during the Fast 5 faze because I saw in the food planner that fat free dressing was allowed.

I'm not sure what dinner is going to be today with the meals all messed up, but I was thinking chili. Last night I had the turkey sausage and bacon rigatoni with some broiled mushrooms.  Not one of my favorites. I went online last night and switched my future order not to contain it.  It would be livable if that was one of a few choices, but I would rather have something else.  I quartered and dry roasted 3/4 of one of those large cartons of white mushrooms.  I gave a small amount to my husband for his steak. I love mushrooms. Hopefully tonight's meal is tasty.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Nutrisystem Fast 5 - Day 4 Review

Oh my, is it Day 4 already? So far so good. I went up one pound. Hmm?  I've dealt with a handful of cravings and the general boredom food wants.  Otherwise this diet is overall been not too bad. My worst time of the day is actually after I get home from work and after dinner. I'm done with food and there's still a long time till I go to bed. On the regular plan you could have a dessert, so that's one of the payoffs when we are done with this week.

Yesterday evening I had the pot pie and reheated the rest of my green beans to go with it.  I cut up the green beans and then mixed the pot pie into it.  It was okay but not awesome. Made me think what the heck were those people talking about.  Not a bad meal and I would definitely have it again though.

I'm been drinking a ton of water and it's apparently not gone unnoticed that I keep refilling my gigantic water container and that I have to pee every 10 minutes.  Hey, if that's what it takes.  My coworkers know that I am on an eating plan, but I didn't get into specifics, so absolutely nobody but my husband and any of you that read this knows.  Not even my parents.  I just didn't want to set myself up to fail or have people always checking in on me when I don't want them to.  Maybe later.

On my way to the groomers to pick my darling Charlie, I stopped by Walmart. Not one of my favorite places so for me it's in and out as quickly as possible.  I saw online that they had some of the Nutrisystem kits for a bit under $50.  They had a couple to choose from, so I went off of what foods were included. I went with the Homestyle. It has the gold handle and label.  I did this only to store at my office and some in my car so that there were no excuses.  They offer some al a carte and sample packs which I think are worth it, but I needed something put in place sooner than later. Almost like a security blanket.  After I picked Charlie up I was reinforced with this idea. I adore my groomer but she loves to talk, so by the time I got home I was an hour past my meal time.

Just in case you are wondering, I am placing my meals about 3 hours apart. Sometimes they need to be more like 2 1/2, but that's okay with me, as long as I stay on track. Also, I do not eat first thing in the morning because I go to the gym, workout, and then worry about breakfast.  Otherwise I would be eating about 5:30 a.m., which would end my meals waaaaaay too early and you would have a crazy hangry monster on your hands.

Today I had the plain biscotti for breakfast. Not bad really. Much more on the almond side, not overly sweet, but not too dry and bland either.

For lunch I had the black beans and rice along with a steamer bags worth of broccoli and cauliflower.  It was actually pretty good and I can see me eating that in the future. This one was a bit of a timing thing as the steamer bad took 5 minutes and then you turn around and have to turn the power down on the microwave and then it's one of the longer heating meals at 3 1/2 minutes.

My first shake was usual. It's not horrible, but it's not nice and creamy either.  I wish I had a bullet here to do a little blending with.

Tonight is turkey sausage and rigatoni.  I'm thinking about a good amount of roasted mushrooms with this one. Hopefully it turns out well, but I already have faith. I'm surprised with the overall flavor of these foods. I really don't remember foods being this good when I first tried this program years ago. Maybe one of their improvements?

I'm looking forward to day five. This weekend is going to be tough as it means the first weekend where my husband and I do not get to do our usual eating out.  He will also be drinking which I told him I will not be doing. Let's see if he remembers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nutrisystem Fast Five - Day 3 Review

Day 3!! Not as bad as I thought it might be.  Yesterday I weighed in 2 pounds less, and today was the same loss (-4!!!!). Of course, just my luck that by the time I got to the gym and got weighed and measured by my trainer it was up.  Thank you coffee and water.  So for the duration, I shall only follow my scale, but I will go with my trainers measurements.  I will have to look back and see what my initial measurements were.  I will ask her to measure again at the end of the Fast 5, and then periodically through my weight loss journey.

Just as a note to you all, I noticed as I was searching the web for other reviews that most of them are sponsored by Nutrisystem, and I assure you that I am currently not. If they choose (go on ahead!!) to sponsor me, then I will make sure that it is stated in the next blog to notify you all.

So things that I've noticed.... It might be that I'm PMSing, but I have been exhausted.  But it's not usually that bad. I've been going to bed way early and tired when I wake. I'm hoping that if this is diet related that it passes quickly. I know that this can happen when you suddenly change your body's diet routine.  I've been getting a great energy boost from the shakes, but it does drop off during the latter afternoon.  Cravings haven't been horrible, but I've caught myself a bunch of times about to automatically put something in my mouth and having to mentally stop myself.

I've had a hard time even with how short this has been with cooking for my husband.  The first night I was going to have a salad with my dinner before I decided on broccoli. That is what I gave him instead. Thankfully he loves salad.  Last night I was having the mac n cheese with turkey sausage, so I made him mac n cheese with tuna and veggies.  Automatically I almost threw some pasta down my throat (you know those escape artists) and had to spit it out.  I'm going to need him to cook his own meals I think.  Perhaps I will just get him a bunch of steaks and then he can share my veggies.

Last night I again put my dinner meal on top of the broccoli and mixed it up.  Definitely the way to go and I was completely satisfied. This is the Fast 5 so there is no dessert. One week will be okay.

This morning I had the granola cereal with fat free milk.  I'm not the hugest milk fan, but I didn't bring any with me so I went downstairs to the coffee shop to see if they had any almond milk.  Yay, they did. Sad, it wasn't sugar free.  I went ahead and got the fat free milk which ended up not being bad. The cereal is like granola clusters and they did not get soggy on me while eating them. Might be a keeper.

I told you last time that I hate bars for lunch.  According to the meal planner, today was supposed to have another bar.  I decided to switch that to the end of the week, which will be during the weekend and a bit easier for me to handle. Today I have the white bean chicken chili for lunch.  I will go downstairs again and get a side salad at the cafeteria downstairs from my office.  I meant to bring my leftover green beans, but alas I forgot.

Tonight is the chicken pot pie.  I've heard great things about this. And I've always loved pot pies. The winter weather right now suits it too.  I will probably add my cut up green beans to this meal. I definitely hate to waste.  I've also included the nutritional information of the shakes just as an FYI. Sometimes I think all shakes are the same, so I like to see the difference.