I got a free bag of the Limited Edition CinnamonSugar Pita Chips by Bearitos. These are non-GMO verified, which is always a plus. I don’t necessarily go out of my way to get non-GMO foods, but seeing a product non-GMO verified is definitely a positive!

I have a love hate with Pita chips. Love them, hate the calories and carbs. A serving size is usually like 7 chips from most brands that I’ve seen, because Pita Chips are so dense and thick. Who can only eat 7?!?!

Anyway, I was excited to try these. I was informed there is also a chocolate flavor that they make. I was sent the cinnamon sugar flavor. Here’s what they look like

As you can see, they have some seasoning on them but do not look drenched in cinnamon or sugar, which I’ll admit, I was already a bit disappointed. BUT, I tried these with an open mind.

Unfortunately, they were not as good as I hoped. They were a solid, crunchy chip, just as a pita chip should. However they were really bland. There was not a lot of cinnamon nor sugar flavor, and I had a predominant flavor of just a bland pita chip. I tried a couple chips, even some that looked like they had more coating than the others, and still to no avail.

The overall flavor was way too mild for me. If mild, and by mild I mean SUPER mild, is your thing, you might like these. I checked the sugar content of the chips, and it only had 1 gram of sugar. I suppose this is a plus, but I probably wouldn’t buy these if I saw these in store. Too bland, and not worth it if I wanted a sweet treat.  I did like the crunch these chips provided, but they just didn’t do it for me. I do NOT eat a lot of sugar (I am a Diabetic), so it’s not even as if I am used to a high exposure of sugary foods- these just barely had any flavor besides wheat.

2  stars

Skylanders!

The nice folks at General Mills sent me a package with Reeses Puffs and Honey Nut Cheerios which included the new Skylanders game to do a review of. In the box comes a box of Skylanders cards, which contains a coin (to see who goes first), the directions, and 10 Skylander opponents. You cut the game board out from the back of the specially marked cereal boxes, such as Reeses Puffs or the Honey Nut Cheerios I received for free.

After cutting out the board, you deal 5 cards to each player. You then flip a coin to see who goes first. You take turns, one at a time, playing one of the pieces on the board. Each piece has a different amount of arrows, and you “attack” with the strength. For example, if I placed a RED card with 4 arrows next to a BLUE card with 2 arrows, I flip my opponents card, and now my color is on the board.  The objective of the game is by the time the 9 spaces are filled, to have the majority of your color on the board.

It was actually fun! They are quick games, but it was a game of strategy and quick thinking. I think it’s a great game for a Mom or Dad to play with their kid. Plus who doesn’t like Reese’s Puffs, which is where you can get the game! (I may be biased here…Reese’s Puffs is my favorite cereal ever!)

These specially marked boxes will only be available in March, so if you are interested in playing, better go grab a box!

Now…GIVEAWAY TIME!

General Mills is offering the same gift set of cereal with Skylanders game inside to one lucky winner. To enter,

1. leave a comment below with your favorite General Mills cereal.


2. For extra entry, follow me on Twitter at LiiSA_tee to stay up to date with all reviews (and well…my tweets about life haha). *MUST leave a comment saying you did so

Must be U.S. only. Open until March 2nd, 12 pm.

8 Feb 2015, Comments (8)

Quest Nutrition Red Velvet Cake Pops

Author: Healthnuttxo

So Quest Nutrition asked if I would try one of their Valentine’s Day Recipes and post about it on my blog, and I happily obliged. I decided to do the Red Velvet Cake Pops using their Vanilla Protein Powder and Dark Chocolate Chunk Quest Bars. This will be my outline/review of the recipe (the real recipe is at the bottom), and my thoughts on the product.

Here we go!

First, I microwaved the  Double Chocolate Chunk Quest bar in the…well, microwave. Then I flattened it out

baked it, and grinded it up so it got to be a fine powder. I then combined the Quest bar with a slew of other ingredients, such as almond meal, red food dye, almond milk, and the Quest Vanilla Protein powder in a medium bowl and mixed well.

Then…into the oven it went!

In the meantime, I made the “frosting”. I used the Quest protein powder again, alongside cream cheese, sweetener, and sour cream, and mixed well. *tip- soften your cream cheese before you try this recipe… I did not and it was awfully hard to mix! I tasted the frosting though, reminded me of a vanilla buttercream.

After about 20 minutes I took the quest bar mixture out of the oven.

Then I crumpled up the cake, and added the frosting to it.

Next up, made the cake into little balls, and off to the freezer! (I did this step backwards…oops)

The last step was melting and coating them in chocolate. I decided to use regular chocolate versus sugar free, mostly since it was easier for me to find in stores and cheaper.

Overall…how did it taste?

really damn good!!! The chocolate was a savior, and it went just perfectly with the cake. I loved the fact I was eating something that wasn’t going to derail my diet. The cake was moist, had a cream cheesy, vanilla flavor, and tasted like a normal cake pop you would find at Starbucks. These were definitely time intensive…but worth it! 4 1/2 stars.

The recipe was a bit labor intensive, but cake pops (at least from my experience) are not an easy thing to make. So this recipe might be difficult for a beginner, but it was still easy to follow. If I made this again, I would probably do a half sugar/ half 0 cal sweetener, since I can sometimes detect that sugar free taste (I am used to it as a diabetic!), but I think half sugar would provide a little less bitterness and better flavor. However, since this is a “cheat clean”, I can see why 0 calorie sweetener was used.

Recipe & nutritional info below!

Here is the recipe they gave me. I do NOT own this recipe, it was provided to me by Quest Nutrition, as well as getting a free tub of their Protein Powder and quest bars to make the recipe. Any  modifications I personally made are provided in parenthesis.

Red Velvet Cake Pops:

Yields: 18 servings

Serving size: 1 cake pop

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 24 min

Ingredients:

Cake

1⁄ 2 cup Quest Vanilla Milkshake Protein Powder

1 Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar

1⁄ 2 cup almond meal

1 1⁄ 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons zero-calorie sweetener

1⁄ 2 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄ 4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla coconut milk)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1⁄ 2 tablespoon red food coloring

Coconut cooking spray

Frosting

1 scoop Quest Vanilla Milkshake Protein Powder

3 1⁄ 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (I used full fat)

1⁄ 4 cup zero-calorie sweetener (I used Splenda)

2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream ( I used full fat)

1⁄ 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating

6 ounces sugar-free milk or dark chocolate ( I used regular milk chocolate)

Method:

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, heat unwrapped Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar for 10 seconds.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the bar out to 1⁄4-inch thickness.
  • Bake for 4 minutes, or until bar is lightly crisped. Remove to cool.
  • Break the crisped bar into pieces, place in a mini blender, and process into a powder.
  • In a medium-size mixing bowl, add Quest Vanilla Milkshake Protein Powder, the powdered Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar, almond meal, cocoa powder, zero-calorie sweetener, baking soda, and salt, and mix well.
  • Add almond milk, vanilla extract, and red food coloring. Mix cake base until fully incorporated and batter is dark red.
  • Coat a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour in batter.
  • Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and cake is completely cooked and springy.
  • Remove and let cool.
  • Break the cake into small pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl.

Frosting

  • In a medium-size bowl, add Quest Vanilla Milkshake Protein Powder, cream cheese, zero-calorie sweetener, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
  • Mix until smooth.

Assembly

  • Add frosting to crumbled cake, and mix together until all frosting is incorporated.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove cake from freezer. Take a small amount of cake batter and form eighteen walnut-sized balls.
  • Break chocolate into even-size small pieces. Melt slowly over a double boiler or in a dry bowl that fits snuggly over a pot. (Water should not touch pot or bowl above it. Before placing pot on top, simmer water in pot on low heat, then turn off heat and place the dry bowl or pot with chocolate in it on top, and stir when chocolate starts to melt, until chocolate is shiny and smooth)
  • Once chocolate is ready, remove cake balls from fridge and carefully submerge each into melted chocolate. Gently tap the edge to remove excess. If chocolate begins to seize, simply return to double boiler. Place each pop on wax paper and insert lollipop sticks.
  • Chill for 10 minutes in freezer, or until chocolate hardens and creates a shell.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 110

Protein: 7

Fat: 7

Net Carbs: 3

Fiber: 4

Trigger Point Therapy, or Self Myofascial Release (SMR), is something I am particularly fond of. I was offered a free book to try by Dr. Karl Knopf and Chris Knopf on doing trigger point therapy with a foam roller. Unfortunately, a foam roller is not included, but I had one anyway so it worked out perfectly!

What is SMR? The root “myo” means muscle, and “fascia” is in a nutshell, what makes up your muscles. You can get these sort of “knots” in your muscles that lead to pain in other places, or could just be tight. For example, if someones hamstrings are very tight, it can cause pain on the lower back. One can do SMR on certain areas that let those hamstrings “loosen up” and then your lower back pain may be relieved!  (please note: I am not licensed in SMR or trigger point therapy. I learned through my career of personal training).

The book starts with an overview, which tells you what SMR is and how to use a foam roller to hit your “trigger points”. Then it moves onto some programs, which range from things such as a Posture Program, Upper Back Release Program, Foot & Leg Release Program, and even things such as a Basketball or Bicycling program. Each program lists a few exercises, and next to each exercise there is a  page number. I really like the fact they incorporated a program, so if you have a specific goal in mind, and have no idea how to help your target issue, this book can lead you in the right direction. Or if you have pain from chronic bicycling, how these massages may help you, and etc.

Part 3 then leads to the exercises themselves.  Each exercise gives you detailed instructions and pictures. I did not take a picture to post of the pages for copyright issues, but I can tell you they are easy to follow!

My favorite exercise was the Piriformus Release. You essentially sit on the foam roller at an angle on your glutes, and it helps your lower back and glute region loosen up. I found it the most useful for  all the deadlifts and squats that I do. My hamstrings, glutes and lower back can get awfully tight!

Here is what it looks like…yes I am in my PJs :D



Overall, a great book. Some of these I already knew from my personal training background, but there were definitely some new ones in there for me. A MUST for people who workout a lot and are active, or find themselves with frequent muscle knots. The only thing I didn’t care for was the quality of the pages. They felt very thin and cheap, I wish the pictures were in color and the pages were a bit sturdier.

Hello!

I got some  yummy treats from Uncomplicated Foods to try for free called Tali-O Bites! They are these bite sized treats made from organic dates and other flavors, to make for a healthy snack. They come in 3 flavors, Powerfully Peanut, A Hint of Almond, and Double the Coconut. All 3 flavors are gluten free, vegan, non GMO, soy free, and free of added sugars, according to the package. The Double the Coconut and Hint of Almond flavor are also paleo friendly.

As you can see, they are tiny!

I tried the Double the Coconut flavor first. These were soft and chewy, and had a sweet and fruity taste. You can certainly detect the fate flavor. The coconut flavor was prominent, but I wouldn’t say it was “double” in terms of flavor strength. I am assuming the powder on the bite was some type of extra coconut flavor. There were tiny pieces of nuts that gave it a teeny crunch, which was nice and added texture. These were really yummy! I used them pre workout early in the morning (I’m talking 5 am…) for a boost since it was too early for me to eat a full breakfast. 4 stars

Next up, Hint of Almond. This one was not my favorite of the 3, but it was still good.  Almond was not the first thing I thought of when eating these, however. It had a sweet taste to it, but moreso tasted like an almond butter after-taste. It was soft and chewy, and had a rather peculiar flavor that is a bit hard to describe. Almost like if you took almond butter and dates and made it into a chew with teeny nut pieces. Overall, 3  stars.

Lastly,  Powerfully Peanut. This flavor was my favorite! It had a yummy peanut flavor and was mildly sweet. THere was a hint of coconut flavor and almost tasted a little like vanilla. They were soft, dense and chewy. Very good! Definitely want more of these!

Overall, these are good! I do not have or know the nutritional facts, but I do have the ingredients for Double The Coconut listed below.

13 Dec 2014, Comments (9)

EnjoyLife Handcrafted Crunchy Cookies

Author: Healthnuttxo

Who doesn’t love cookies?!?!

EnjoyLife sent me a huge box of goodies for free, and let me tell you how pleasant of a surprise it was seeing that on my doorstep!

These crunchy cookies are gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and soy free according to the box. The box also states that they are “free from the 8 common allergies”, so one could definitely assume they are allergen friendly :]

They come in 4 different flavors, Vanilla Honey Graham, Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, and Sugar Crisp. I was so excited! I generally prefer soft cookies over crunchy or crisp ones, but I am also never one to turn down a good cookie :]

I tried the double chocolate first. Here is what they looked like up close!

Mmmmm. These cookies were nice and crunchy, but not flaky, they had a good body to them. There was clearly a good amount of chocolate chips, but I think it had more of a dark chocolate than a milk chocolate flavor to them. These actually reminded me of a brownie-cookie. They were very sweet and a tad salty, so in other words, a great combination! The consistency was great. Couldn’t tell it was gluten free or anything aside from a regular ol’ gluten-y cookie. Haha. Very good! 4.5 stars

Next up, the chocolate chip. These were yummmay!!! Crunchy and crispy, but had body like the other ones. The chocolate chips melted easily which was a good thing, and they were plentiful without the cookie. There was a slight vanilla flavor as well. They were sweet with a slight punch of saltiness, so again, delicious combo. You really can’t tell it was gluten free! Often I tried GF cookies where you can taste the potato flour or there is a piecy consistency, but not the case with these. They held together well, and I ate, well, ALL of them :) (oops) 4.5 stars

Next up, the Sugar Crisp. Again…yum! Crispy, but not airy, with a prominent vanilla flavor. In fact, these were full of flavor. These had a slight break down after you chew it where you can tell it was made of rice flour, unlike the other two, but they were still quite good. If you like a sweet cookie with a strong vanilla flavor, these are for you. 4 stars

Lastly, Vanilla Honey Graham!Look how perfect these little guys look! These cookies almost tasted like toast with honey spread on it. They had a rather strong honey flavor, and a very slight undertone of vanilla flavor. The toasted flavor however, was quite predominant, and the cookie has strong flavors. I think the toasted flavor was supposed to be the graham flavor, but not too sure. If you like honey, I would say this a good choice. I enjoyed it, but not my favorite of the 4. 3 1/2 stars

Overall, I approve! I would definitely buy some of these if I saw them on my next trip to the supermarket :)

7 Dec 2014, Comments (8)

Pearson Farm Natural Elliot Pecan Halves

Author: Healthnuttxo

Pecans are by far, my favorite nut. So when I got an email asking to review some of the “BEST. PECANS. EVER!” , you bet I was down to give them a try!

I got sent a bag to try for free from Pearson Farm. I was slightly skeptical after reading the ingredients. Just…pecans? No salt? Not roasted? Hmm…

However, these are fantastic! They are soft, have a slight mapley/sweet flavor to them as well, which HAS to be natural! They have no oily taste to them, and do not have a funky aftertaste to them that I find raw nuts sometimes have. The pecans are nice and big, and just very flavorful. Easily the best raw pecans I have ever tried, and very yummy for a “plain” flavor.

I think these would be great for baking. With holiday cooking and baking right around the corner, I think they would be excellent for making a pecan pie or a topping for cookies. However, they are delicious right out of the bag as well. I will always be a fan of roasted over raw, but for no salt AND raw nuts, these are very good, and very flavorful. Really allows the pecan flavor to shine through. I applaud! 4 1/2 stars from me.

Q- what is your favorite nut?


ALSO- the winner of the giveaway for the BP monitor is Kenny! You were chosen randomly via random.org, You will be contacted soon to claim your prize.

Hello! So a non-food item to review today, the Omron Blood Pressure Monitor. There will also be a GIVEAWAY for this monitor at the end of the review (now that may make your blood pressure rise!!)

Omron sent me a blood pressure monitor to review for free.  It comes nicely packaged in the box, with each component wrapped up separately. It has an option to use plugged in with an AC adapter, or to use 4 AA batteries with. I think this option is great, because there are definitely times when the power goes out (we had a power surge actually AS I write this!) and people need to have their blood pressure taken.

There is a little bit of a setup after batteries are put in/plugged into an outlet. You can input the date and time by pressing the clock button 3 times, and then adjusting the date and time accordingly. You can also bypass this option, but I put it in to store data.

Next, plug in the cuff in the blue circular hole on the side, and you can begin! What I liked about this cuff was that it had a firm circular “tube” set up for your arm, so it takes the hassle of wrapping someone’s or your own arm tight “enough” since there is often material that needs to be overlapped.

My arm slid right in, and I tightened the cuff. The wire connecting to the machine should be on your inner arm, and the cuff should be placed on your left arm, bare skin.

I hit the start button, and within 30 seconds I had my blood pressure. Happy to report good numbers! I am usually 110/70, and that is right where I fell.

I also liked how it gave you a range on the right side for normal numbers, and what would be too high or too low, and gives you your heart rate!

I tried the blood pressure monitor on my roommate as well, and it was also done with ease. He said his diastolic number was a bit lower than usual (a few points), but he just woke up and hadn’t eaten, so we accounted it to that. I *may* have woken him up just to use the machine, don’t judge me!

Overall, I liked this machine! I think it is the best at home use blood pressure monitor I have tried so far. 4 stars

NEXT- giveaway!!!

To win your very own blood pressure monitor from Omron…

  1. leave a comment on this page stating why you would want this monitor.
  2. share this giveaway! On twitter, a blog post, anything, Just use the link and leave a comment saying you did so.

US only. Giveaway will close December 6th 2014, 12 pm.

18 Nov 2014, Comments (8)

Quest Nutrition Protein Chips

Author: Healthnuttxo

Quest Nutrition Protein Chips!

I know, I know, I am a little behind on these, and while I did  get samples a little while ago my schedule is so tight I did not have a chance to post this until now.

SO,

Here we go!

I got 1 bag of 3 different flavors to try for free from Quest. I got the BBQ, Cheddar & Sour Cream, and Sea Salt flavors to try.

These chips are made without soy, and are gluten free. They are baked, not fried, according to the bag, and have roughly 21g of protein per serving with ~5 g of carbohydrates. They do not have any fiber in them, and are relatively low in fat. For example, the sea salt flavor had 1.5 grams of fat per bag.

One serving gives you a decent amount of chips, but they are flaky and airy, and a lot of the chips end up being very piecey and on the bottom of the bag. For example, I packed a bag for lunch one day and ended up eating entirely crumbs during class. Not super convenient! First up, the Sea Salt.

These were pretty good. The chips were half and half, were some would have a good amount of yummy salt flavor, and others would be on the blander side. The chips were piecey via mouth feel- they had this dried potato flavor to them but a rather strong undertone of whey protein flavor. They were dry, and brittle, and broke apart easily while chewing.

Next up, the BBQ flavor. Here’s a sneak peak.This bag wasn’t as damaged as my other two got during travel, so I got a shot of the chips as whole pieces not crumbs. The BBQ ones had a mild BBQ flavor, standard flavoring like most BBQ chips, but definitely not as strong. No flavor in the BBQ seasoning stuck out in particular. They had a nice crunch, and were not too salty, which was nice. I wish the flavor was a bit stronger. What happened was I would eat the chip, the seasoning would come off, and then it would taste like a plain chip within a few seconds of being in my mouth- that dried potato + whey flavor. It was doable for a snack ,but not my favorite.

Lastly, the Sour Cream and Cheddar. This had the same type of issue the BBQ one did. The flavors were good, mild, but good, but the seasoning came off so easily that it was as if they got sprinkled with seasoning after they were already baked. I wish it had some flavor throughout the chip. I definitely tasted cheddar flavors, can’t say I saw where the sour cream component was coming from. This bag I took with me to class and was the bag I ended up eating almost entirely in pieces, but I was hungry so it was still manageble.

Overall, to be honest, a disappointment from me! I expected better, seeing as I am in love with Quest Bars. I ended up buying a case of the sour cream  & cheddar after receiving my samples to try out of excitement, sure I would like them, and let’s just say I already ordered Quest Bars almost biweekly and I still have 2-3 bags of the chips left waiting to be eaten.

I probably won’t buy them again in the future, I really wasn’t that impressed with these. I can see them as a livesaver for someone who is on a strict diet and needs a “cheat”, because it is crunchy and has mild but good flavor, but it doesn’t beat out the quest bars. Also, there is no fiber in the chips, so they left me hungry where as a Quest Bar was much more fulfilling.  However, I did enjoy the fact they were only 5 grams of carbohydrates. Always down for low carb snacks being a diabetic. Overall, 2  stars

1 serving (Sea Salt) = 120 calories, 1.5 grams fat (0 saturated), 190 mg sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 21 grams protein.

Ingredients (Sea Salt- from bag): Protein blend (milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate), dried potatoes, corn starch, high oleic sunflower oil. Contains less than 2% of the following: Sea Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavors.

Probiotic! What is a probiotic?

A probiotic is basically a supplement of millions of healthy bacteria. You can find them in yogurt, for example, or you can take them in a supplement. These bacteria are good for your gut, digestion, and have some immune benefits as well. They are especially important when taking an anti-biotic. Think about the word’s pro and biotic. Biotic means alive/life, and pro would be indicating there is life. Anti would be indicating no life, aka, when taking an antibiotic, your gut gets completely wiped out of both good and bad bacteria. This is not good! You need healthy/ “good” bacteria to function!

So, now that the mini science lesson is over…Juice Press sent me a Probiotic called Proviotic, and it is entirely vegan. According to the bottle, the good bugs (bacteria) were found in a European snowdrop flower and then grown in juice to be cultured. The bottle also states that “the size of our good bacteria (CFU) is 4 times larger than other probiotics, and each serving contains exceptional strength…without lactose, gluten, soya or nuts”.

Now onto the review! Fortunately, the pills weren’t big.

They came in this nice tin- I suspect to not allow UV light to come in and degrade the probiotic, but I am not 100% sure. You are instructed to take 2 a day, I assumed (since the serving size is 2 capsules) so for most days (except ones I forgot), I took one with breakfast and one with dinner. On my first dew days of taking it, and occasionally throughout the course of the bottle (roughly 1.5 weeks), I noticed some serious gurgling noises going on in my gut. It was only after I ate whilst taking the probiotic. It didn’t happen for a long period of time, nor was it painful, so I figured maybe it was just helping my gut do it’s job!

However, what I loved about this probiotic is that I felt WAY less bloated than I usually do. Normally by the end of the day I feel distended, but this probiotic eradicated that completely. I woke up feeling flat and went to bed feeling flat and not puffy, and it was great. However, I forgot to take my probiotic one morning, and I definitely noticed a change in how my stomach and gut felt- puffy!

Another thing I noticed was that my acid reflux was reduced. I normally only get indigestion with acidic foods, like coffee, or things like onions. I tend to drink coffee almost daily, despite the stomach upset, due to a tight schedule. While taking the probiotic I noticed it reduced my acid symptoms. I still got a stomachache while taking aspirin (which irritates the stomach lining), but I did not have problems with coffee, so that was nice.

Overall, a great product. However, there are only 30 capsules in a bottle, so the bottle goes quickly, and according to the website it is priced at $40.00 per bottle. I received mine to try for free from the company, but if I did not, I certainly don’t think I could budget $80 a month for a probiotic, even though it works awesome. So if you have the budgeting room, definitely give it a try! It is certainly one of the best probiotics I have every tried (I used to be on some other ones a few years ago), and I noticed the best results with this one, it is unfortunately just too expensive for me personally. So, with that in mind, this product shall get 4.5 stars.

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