Awesome Almonds Are..

31 03 2009

AWESOME!!! Thank you to Cheryl at Dr. Lankins Awesome Almonds for sending me this package to review!

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Honestly, as soon as popped these into my mouth I said out loud, ” Wow, these are awesome!!”

Here is why I love almonds, especially as a future dietician:
For a serving of Almonds, you get a ton of healthy nutrients!
( I linked all of the nutrients listed with the posts that I have regarding those nutrients, so click on protein below if you would like to know more about protein, click on PUFA if you would like to know more about PUFA’s etc. !). In general one serving of regular almonds provides :

I immediately tried two flavors and will update here when I try the orange-vanilla almonds!

Cocoa Java:
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Ingredients:
Almonds, beet sugar, water, cocoa, coffee, pure vanilla extract, and natural vitamin E to preserve freshness.

Nutrition: 1 oz:

  • 170 calories
  • 10g fat
    • 2 g PUFA
    • 7 g MUFA
  • 18g Carbohydrates
    • 2g fiber
    • 14g Sugar
  • 4 g protein

Sensory Evaluation:

These guys are very dark, which a java cocoa almond should be! They smell sweet but very  much like coffee. They have the slightest hint of coffee in the taste, its not over-powering. They also have a sweet cocoa taste but not too “chocolatey”. The almonds themselves tasted buttery and smooth, having a crunchy texture with their coating. There is no artificial aftertaste or syrup or oily taste as I noticed with Emerald’s Cocoa Almonds I have tried here.  What I also enjoy is the melt into your mouth instead of staying crunchy or harsh, they are very smooth after the initial crunch.

* I shared these with my lab group today and they enjoyed them as well!*

Cinnamon Vanilla:
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Ingredients:
almonds, beet sugar, water, cinnamon, pure vanilla extract, and natural vitamin E to preserve freshness.

Nutrition in 1 oz:

  • 170 calories
  • 10g fat
    • 2 g PUFA
    • 7 g MUFA
  • 19g Carbohydrates
    • 2g fiber
    • 16g sugar
  • 4 g protein

Sensory Evaluation:
Immediately after opening the bag, I had a fantastic aroma of cinnamon and vanilla. It actually reminded me of christmas time! These guys are coated in cinnamon and real vanilla extract, dark brown and look crispy. They smell so delicious, just like a cinnamon almond would. They aren’t sticky or covered in powder as some coated nut brands are.  They taste sweet but also rather spicy adding a nice kick. The crunchiness easily smoothes away after eating, so you really get many textures going at once.  Again, these had great flavors reflected by their ingredients, no oils or artificial coloring, or preservatives!

I will buy these in the future! I really enjoyed them especially in comparison to the Emerald Dark Cocoa Almonds I tried which had a fake-sweetener coating to reduce calories. It left a really gross aftertaste. The Dr. Lankins were WORLDS better! 

I have also reviewed Sahale Snacks, which were in my opinion equally fantastic but different than Dr. Lankins. Sahale offers little dried bits of fruit with their nuts and are not specific to almonds. I enjoy getting a variety of nuts so if you are interested in getting in more almonds in a really tasty way, I would highly recommend the Dr. Lankins. If you were interested in more of a trail mix type of nut with fruit, go with Sahale. If you like the idea of either- TRY BOTH!

The negatives: I haven’t seen these in any store where I live so ideally I would have to order them in advanced if I wanted to have some or take them on a trip.

Thank you very much Cheryl and Dr. Lankins Almonds for creating a fantastic product!

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Pumpkin Overload

31 03 2009

Breakfast:
Pumpkin Overload was Pumpkin French Toast AND Pumpkin Pancakes.
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I made Pumpkin French Toast like my usual recipe… ( 3 egg whites, 1/4 cup pumpkin, whisked well, no sweetener because I don’t like it sweet)

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When I had leftover batter the other day, I threw it in the skillet and made sort of a pancake with it. So I decided to really attempt a pancake adding: 3 tsps whole grain flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt pinch of sugar, and some Quaker Oats (simple harvest with pecans)
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I mixed it till moist and dropped into the pan..
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It came out really tasty! I will try it again soon! Around it I had mango and blueberries..

Lunch:
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Smoothie and Banana ( I had to run to meet up for a campus study session and the battery died from the banana!)

Snack:
I brought this pack of Awesome Almonds with me as part of lunch/ snack to share.  


Body:
Run! Jeff and I headed out to the lake and I did two loops + … 6.1 miles in a slower time than usual! Blah! There were people taking up the entire path on the trail. I can’t believe how inconsiderate they are when people try to pass them, they do not even move! Argh! I want to yell at them “Learn some Courtesy!”

Anyway, the weather was gorgeous so my run was fantastic despite all that! 

Mind:

Studied for the exam at home on the couch, at home outside, on campus at the student center and in the library. I think the library is my least fav. place for studying… no noise to tune out so I always lose focus.

Soul:

Out to dinner with our newly engaged friends ( I suspected they got engaged awhile ago and sure enough, our friend came over and said they had!) . We went out with them and it was great to catch up!
 

Dinner:
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Appetizer: Michelob Ultra with a couple onion rings and a little cheese fries..
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Entree: Grilled Chicken Salad. I almost always get this when we go to this restaurant because it has tons of veggies ( carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, green pepper, onion, cucumber, romaine) and their chicken always tastes great. I had oil and vinegar dressing but didn’t use much.





Weekend

30 03 2009

Updates and tidbits and the like…

Moran of The Running Addict is having a giveaway of….. Oikos Coupons! Click on her link to enter the giveaway!

Body Mind Soul is calling all guest posters! Would any of my readers like to write a guest post?  Guest posts are a great way to network with other bloggers as well as give new view points.  Just send me an email : bhealthier@gmail.com  telling me what you would like to post about, i.e a food day in general, baking tips, exercise etc.

Only a few of my saturday eats:
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Running Update: My March Weekly Mileage:
Monday March 2- Sunday March 8 : 29 Miles!
Monday March 9 – Sunday March 15 : 23 Miles
Monday March 16- Sunday March 22 : 27 miles
Monday March 23 – Sunday March 29 :20 miles

Body Saturday:
Shred, Level 2. I did all the level 2 stuff- no add-ins from the other levels and found that it is still a great sweat. Detox Yoga #1

Mind Saturday:
Fatty Acid Synthesis and Adipose Cell Metabolism

I came up with an idea for a fundraiser for the IF-FS and hopefully, the ideas will go over well!

Soul Saturday:
It was raining all day! Our friend Nate came over and hung out with us. Jeff and I had a much needed night in with just us though. We were considering heading out for some dessert but instead ran to the store and grabbed two bottles of wine (Sirah and Merlot), two movie rentals ( Madagasscar 2, Transporter 3), two kinds of ice cream ( Ben & Jerry’s Fro Yo, Extreme Moose Tracks), and two kinds of toppers ( mint fudge and smores crackle top).
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I had a glass of the merlot, and half a scoop of the extreme moose tracks with half a scoop of the ben and Jerry’s fro yo and a spoonful of the mint fudge. Both ice creams had the same amount of calories per serving, but I enjoyed the moose tracks much better than than the frozen yogurt.
Comparison:
moose tracks for 1/2 cup: 180 calories, 2 g fiber, 11g fat, 15 g sugar
frozen yogurt for 1/2 cup: 180 calories, 1 g fiber, 3 g fat, 23 g sugar

The future dietician in me says go with the Moose Tracks ( unless you have a cholesterol problem or a higher fat/saturated fat intake daily) because of the higher fat content, the moose tracks was much more satisfying and creamy. The frozen yogurt was icey, not very satisfying at all and more sugary. It lacked fiber, fat and protein to balance out the sugar.  I just learned today that diets high in sugar increases the release of an enzyme ( fatty acid synthetase) that speeds up the fat making/storing process.

I think the last time I had ice cream was….7 months ago. Wow, that was a long time! We watched Madagasscar 2 but both of us fell asleep half way through!

Sunday Eats:
 
Ham, Egg n Cheese Sandwich!

I scrambled 1 egg and 1 egg white, browned up a slice of ham, sprinkled a little reduced fat cheese on top and had that between two slices of whole wheat toast.
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I also had half of this guy- which was HUGE!
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Post -Run Lunch:
Smoothie… I was reading over the information for the package I just received! More on that tomorrow in an official review…
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Mid-Study Snack:
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( not the whole thing! I had 1/8th and used TJ whole wheat dough, feta, goat cheese and pepperoni)


Supper:
Lemon Pepper Caper Tilapia on top of leftover spaghetti squash, feta, steamed veggies and kashi pilaf. This was fabulous! I sprinkled whole wheat flour on the filets before cooking them in the pan with the capers and seasoning.
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Do you like to call it supper or dinner?

Sunday Body:
RUN! Jeff and I ran out at the lake semi-together. We brought Jack and Jeff ran around once with him making several stops! I ran around 2 times and met up with him at the end. It was a fantastic 6+ miles.

Sunday Mind: Studied Pyruvate-Malate Cycle , Lipogenesis, and The Carnitine Shuttle. I studied outside on our patio and it was really great because I was super focused! Now I have Ketogenesis, Amino Acid Metabolism / Protein notes to still go through.

Sunday Soul:
Jeff and I are going to watch our second movie from last night, Transporter 3. We had seen the first two awhile ago and really liked it. So I am looking forward to the next!

It was really great to spend a sunny warm day outside as usual.

I really loved Jasmine’s guest post! Her cupcake tips were really great, weren’t they? I am looking forward to more guest posts in the future.





Guest Post: Sweet and Fit Cupcakes

29 03 2009

 

Hi! First of all I want to thank Laural for giving me this opportunity to write a guest post for her wonderful blog. My name is Jasmine and I write a blog called Sweet and Fit.  I am currently taking a break from pastry school (L’Academie de Cuisine), but I’ll be starting back up shortly! In the meantime I’ve started a my blog to write about my baking adventures as well as my quest for a healthy happy lifestyle, while still enjoying sweets =)

I have decided to talk about one of the latest trends in baking and pastry…. Cupcakes, of course!  There seems to be bakeries solely devoted to cupcakes popping up all over the place, and for good reason too.  Cupcakes are not messy to eat because unlike a cake there is no need to slice anything and you don’t even need a plate – plus they can be easily incorporated into a health-conscious diet because they are perfectly portioned. Now I am not saying to go out and eat cupcakes everyday or anything, I’m just trying to say that they shouldn’t be “off-limits” to anyone who is trying to watch out for their health.

I made some cupcakes today actually – I used a basic yellow cake recipe and topped them off with a raspberry buttercream-cream cheese frosting.

cupcake1

For the frosting I just eye-balled the cream-cheese, butter, and powdered sugar – then I added this Seedless Raspberry Jam from Harry & David, to taste.  Its really important to use seedless jams in when making a frosting because otherwise you would have the seeds stuck in your teeth and the frosting would be somewhat gritty versus smooth and creamy.

Here are some cupcakes and a cake I made for a baby shower:

cupcake2

cupcakes and cake

Tips on making Cupcakes & just baking in general:

-Make sure all your ingredients are at the same temperature; i.e. eggs and milk at room temperature

-Use a ice cream scoop, also known as a portioner, to ensure that all your cupcake liners are filled with the same amount of batter, meaning they will bake evenly – not to mention it’s the least messiest way to do it

-Always use unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt in the recipe

-After baking the cupcakes, allow them to cool in the cupcake pan for only one to two minutes and then remove them to prevent the cupcakes from over-cooking from the residual heat in the pan

-Use a piping bag and a pastry tip to pipe your frosting onto the cupcakes – in the pastry world, presentation is everything.  If you don’t have a pastry bag you can just use a freezer bag and cut a hole in one end

Thanks so much for reading!

-Jasmine

cupcake baking





Omega- 3 Fatty Acids: "Naturally More" of a Review!

28 03 2009

I received this in the mail the other day from Tim at SnacLite to review my thoughts on here. Just so you know, Naturally More is not part of the recent recall caused by salmonella contamination in peanut butter manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America.

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Nutrition Evaluation:
As you can most likely see, it contains all fantastic pronounce-able ingredients!
Peanuts, wheat germ, flaxseed, cane sugar, egg whites, honey, flaxseed oil.

In case you cannot see, 2 tablespoons (1 serving ) has 10g of protein ( higher than most peanut butters), 2 g of sugar ( less than many peanut butters) and 4 g of filling fiber!

The label also lists that one serving contains 4.1 g of Omega-3 and 1.2g of Omega 6, a fantastic and uncommon ratio. In my advanced nutrient metabolism class, we learned that far more omega -6 (  a polyunsaturated fatty acid ( aka PUFA’s) usually from the same source as Omega-3, another PUFA) is consumed in the U.S than omega-3’s. Why is this not helpful?

Well it is to some extent, the National Institutes of Health recommend an overall diet ratio of 2:1 (Omega-6 : Omega-3) fats. This is due to the properties of both fats, however, the omega -6 when metabolized in the body produce leukotrienes and prostaglandins ( Series 2). These series 2 compounds cause vasoconstritction, increased blood pressure, promotion of pain, promotion “platelet stickiness” (i.e blood clotting) and increasing inflammation. Those responses , believe it or not, are actually needed by the body to function properly. We do want our blood to clot after a cut or wound, we do want to sense pain so we are aware of the potential damage it could cause. However, when there is an excess of omega-6 as I mentioned above as an issue, we are at an increased risk of things such as heart disease because the inflammatory response is overwhelmed, the blood vessels are constricting, platelets are “stickier” and cause clotting thus creating a situation “easier” for a heart attack to occur ( among plenty of other variables as well).

Some compounds actually inhibit the metabolism of Omega-6’s such as ginger, onions, garlic and flavonoid-rich herbs! In addition to inhibition of omega-6’s, we could increase our intake of omega-3’s.  Omega-3 metabolism results in the same compounds as Omega-6, but the Series 1. These have the opposite effects of reducing inflammation, reducing blood pressure, thinning the blood, decreasing pain and vasodilation.  When we incorporate more omega-3’s, we have decreased risk of heart attacks (as an example) occuring due to our blood being thin and less risk of clotting.

Flaxseed is one of the primary source of the Omega-3 fatty acid called Alpha-Linoleic Acid or ALA, but you can also obtain a great amount of Omega-3’s from other sources. Fish oil, coldwater fish like salmon and mackerel offer DHA, an omega-3 acid that lends it functions to brain cells in particular. EPA is another omega-3, which has its own sources such as Cod, Anchovy, Tuna, Sole, but it is also derived from the ALA and is converted into the DHA type. So you can consume ALA  ( flaxseed) and it will be converted to those other acids as well! Some of my previous posts have been regarding Nuts, Seeds, LNA and lipids or products containing flaxseed compounds. I like keeping ground flaxseed in my freezer to add whenever I choose to my dishes, because it really doesn’t have much unique flavor to it.

Long story short, I LOVE that Naturally More has a break down of the Omega -3 and Omega-6 grams on the label!

Here is what Naturally More says about Flaxseeds:
“Flaxseed contains lignans that have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties. Flaxseeds have the richest source of lignans, 100 times more than the next best source, wheat bran. The majority of lignans is found in the seed, giving it an advantage over flax oil. Flaxseed also contains lecithin, which emulsifies fat and cholesterol. These little seeds improve digestion, help stabilize blood glucose levels, fight tumor formation and enhance cardiovascular health. “

My Sensory Evaluation:

The naturally more separates just as other “all-natural” butters tend to do, however, the separation is much less noticeable in my opinion than other brands. I like that because I don’t feel the need to “stir and refridgerate” as often suggested.  The mouthfeel is thinner than my usual go-to Smucker’s all natural but it does give you that stick-to your mouth taste as most nut butters do! It smells just like any peanut butter but it tastes much sweeter than other brands. It is not lower in sugar than Smucker’s all natural, but it is much less in actual sugar than several other brands such as Jiff.  This could be good and bad because I like the salty taste with my sweet bananas in the morning but I think Naturally More works just as well, and would be nice for dessert with peanut butter or in oatmeal especially.The texture is “grainy”, however, the grains are much finer in texture than all-natural varieties.

I used my Naturally More in dessert:
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I think this is a fantastic product, 15 out of 10 in my opinion! Especially because it offers a great way to get flaxseeds already ground and in a tasty fashion! I think the best part is that Naturally More is not a “Functional Food” rather a primary source. As you may have seen recently, anything from Smart Taste Pasta to Nature’s Own Bread have been fortified with omega- 3’s, foods that don’t normally contain these properties, being called functional foods that offer “more” than foods’ original health benefits. I really think obtaining nutrients from its original source, like the flaxseed from Naturally More, is the best way to go instead of relying on products that are created and fortified. I actually have already bought another jar!

Thank you Tim at SnacLite!





Updated*

28 03 2009

Body:

Gym due to rain ( like cough due to cold), today was a little bit of this and a little bit of that kinda day:
Biked 8 miles (18 minutes)
Ran 3 miles 
Yoga Detox #1
Shred Level 3 … I went back to level 3 for fun but switched out all the exercises I didn’t like with ones I liked better from the other levels. And I mute the evil Jillian because she talks too much.

Mind:
I finished up my guest post for Tina at Carrots N Cake! When she posts it, I will post it up on my site as well so that it can be referenced on here for you guys too! It’s all about my history of injuries, physical therapy and strengthening exercises!

Studying for Metabolism exam beginning tomorrow!

I have a mini-project for Inter-faith Food Shuttle. I am working on a PDF flyer version for one of their programs!

Soul:

It’s the weekend! No plans other than studying and running!

Breakfast:
Jay Robb smoothie with pineapples and cherries and flax. On the side, half a whole wheat sandwich thin with peanut butter, apple slices and banana slices.
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I decided midway to eat an “apple sandwich” and it was really tasty!
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Lunch:
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If you read my interview questions from the previous post, you know Pumpkin French Toast is one of my favorite recipes, so of course I wanted to make it again!

my un-recipe:
3 egg whites whisked with just a little milk then added 1/2 cup ish of pumpkin puree ( add sweetener if you prefer)- whisking all of that very well. This batter was pretty thick, in a good way.

I dipped two slices in and dropped them into the hot skillet ( on medium). As they became more fragrant, I added more of the filling to the top side that had been drying due to the batter cooking on the bottoms side. Flipped both pieces.

Here is where it got creative: I had some leftover batter and just threw it into the pan – It made a flourless pumpkin pancake ( on the left side of the plate below)! How fun.
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I added a slice of deli ham to the pan to brown. I added slices of banana and the last of the apple from this morning to the pan with, you guessed it, rum! Just a teaspoon to get some flavor- and boy-was it good!
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I made a Pumpkin French Toast Sammy with Ham and Bananas. It was incredible! The browned ham was salty and tender, with the soft sweet bananas and the pumpkin toast it reminded me of how well pineapple, ham and tomato go so well together for Hawaiian Pizza.  It was such a fantastic blend of flavors!

Snack: Homemade Pizza Triangles
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Here is a great, super quick snack that is healthier than those frozen pizza rolls filled with all kinds of artificial ingredients.

I took an Arnold sandwich thin ( Whole Wheat, one half) and spooned on some tomato sauce
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added a slice of provolone and some pepperoni
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and toasted in the toaster oven , cut up into triangles

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Dinner:

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Leftover Spaghetti Squash ( plus a few whole wheat pasta noodles that made there way into the bowl), homemade tomato veggie sauce and sprinkle cheese ( feta and shredded)

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Single tear…

27 03 2009

I am going post crazy today huh? Well, I just had to talk about the latest addition to my blogroll. I have just added several “new to me” blogs that are fantastic reads. One in particular is my friend Amanda’s…   I met Amanda in college, through two other incredible friends Nikki and April. I never knew that I would meet someone so talented, well-spoken, intelligent and hilarious! She has an incredible sense of humor and somehow always seems to make me laugh with everything she says or writes. She has had her own blog since 2005 and had I realized its level of incredulousness, it would have been my first link when I started this blog.  You can check out her blog to learn some french, learn some spanish, read about song reviews in 100 words or less, or just find out what is interesting or impressive. I personally enjoy her amandoocabulary  and I think all of my readers would like this one in particular too:

appl(e)anche– though the spelling is debated, this word is pronounced ‘apple lanche’ and slurred together, thus the meaning. an avalanche of apples- this happened at whole foods the other day and the guy said it. i love that guy.

associatable – things you can feel, you can empathize and you might talk about it in public, or it might linger in your heart, or it could be thrown around at the water cooler.

Check out more funny things from Amandoo at her site  and you can read a rather eloquently written , impressive post about me here:

http://www.exactasty.com/blog/2009/03/26/mmmbody-mind-soul-blog-does-a-reader-gooood/