Archives: February 2015

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 😀



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.

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