Category Archives: Product Reviews

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

I love meat. Meat, meat, meat…

I’m a protein girl at heart. It’s challenging to get me to eat fruit and veggies. I can go months without dessert but a Meatless Monday? When pigs fly (and if they try, I will trap them in a pig butterfly net and eat their cute deliciousness.)

I have a lot of issues around food. Organization and speedy preparation really help me make healthier choices, especially since being tired is my number one unhealthy eating trigger.

Cue pre-cooked food that doesn’t have weird, glutinous and sugary additives!

Where the guac at?

Where the guac at?  I like all fats.

I used to love Trader Joe’s pre-cooked chicken patties with fontina (?) but they disappeared.  I noticed these on a recent trip and was delighted to discover that they don’t have anything weird in them!

Thanks for not randomly adding wheat flour, soy, or brown rice syrup!

Check the granite.  It’s new.  It’s called “River White.”

Pictured: the knife I needed to pry them apart.  I was nervous that they wouldn’t release but even fully frozen, I just had to wiggle the knife around a bit!

As you can see, they don’t add any weird things like brown rice syrup, soy whatever, or wheat randomness.  Just some chicken and some spices.  They’re 150 calories each, lower than your average pre-cooked patty.  They’re pretty thin and I’m happy to save some calories that way.  Same number of bites, the bites are just smaller!

There are several cooking options but seriously, they’re frozen discs of cooked meat.  Skillet, bake, grill, braise, poach, nuke…it’s not going to make much difference.  I opted for skillet.  Dude told me he would have chosen indoor grill pan so it would have marks.  It’s up to you.  It’s empowering.

Sprayed a nonstick pan with some canola spray (also TJ brand) and cooked them on medium high heat for about 3 minutes on the first side and 2-3 more on the second side.  They heated through and came out looking like pancakes.  Poultry pancakes.  Paleo perfection.  Appetizing alliteration.

See!  Pancake looking, right?

See! Pancake looking, right?

I put some salsa on them because I had it.  You might want to serve them with a vegetable or a bun because you’re probably not weird.  The flavor was pretty good.  The acidity of the lime was tasty but they were crying out for some cheese to cut the tang.  A slice of pepper jack or some queso fresco would have been awesome.  Too bad dairy makes me look pregnant and I already had goat cheese earlier today…

Verdict: Thumbs up!  Not amazing but good and very easy.

Now, here’s the picture my cat, Merlin will probably use on the cover of his memoir.

Sleep: A Love Story.  By Merlin Wharton

Sleep: A Love Story. By Merlin Wharton

Do you enjoy meat in disc form?  Sorry, that’s pretty personal.

Tagged , ,

Product Review: Old Navy Activewear

I ❤ workout clothes.

A year ago, my sweating wardrobe consisted of a couple pair of cotton (?!) black yoga crops, a size large pair of Lucy pants I won in a raffle, an ancient stretched sports bra, and some wife-beaters.

(Such a delightful term for a garment…)

Seeing the gorgeous, chic wick-wear on the rich ladies at Dailey Method led me to Lululemon. While I’ve managed to resist their pants, I’ve built up a healthy wardrobe of offensively bright spandex!

20130126-172243.jpg

As much as I love luxury, I’m a sucker for a deal. TJ Maxx, Nike Clearance Store, and Target are definitely represented in those growing piles. Workout clothes get worn hard and washed frequently so I’m okay with buying cute, cheap pieces that will have to eventually be replaced. When I found out that Old Navy was having a huge activewear sale, I hustled down to see what was what.

20130126-172756.jpg

For (gulp) less than the price of ONE LULU TANK, I got two adorable tanks and two pairs of super-cute capris.

20130126-173147.jpg

20130126-173246.jpg

They look cute but did they come to play?

Mostly, yes!

The compression crops are fantastic. I find the grey slightly more flattering than the purple heather but I’ve pretty much lived in them both. They’re my go-to cycling tights (since I don’t have proper bike shorts yet) and they’re also great for TDM. I typically run in skirts but I’ve run in these once and they didn’t move a millimeter. Big win! My only issue is that they exposed a considerable amount of crotch sweat in TDM but I guess that’s not really Old Navy’s fault, now is it? Slightly embarrassing but whatever.

I have a couple issues with the tops. They weren’t quiiiite long enough for my long torso so they rode up immediately on a run. That said, they provided a super comfy base layer for cycling and are totally appropriate for barre class. My only other issue is that the absence of cups and the thin material leave me looking a bit nipply. I’m small-chested and not trying to wear a sports bra under that kind of top. Especially when the back straps are so pretty!

Even at full price, Old Navy’s activewear is a bargain. I think they’ll probably be the first place I shop for capris, tights, and yoga pants.

20130126-174227.jpg
What’s your favorite brand of workout clothes? Do you throw down big bucks, buy cheap, or mix it up?

Review: NatureBox

Look at me, reviewing products like a fancy blogger.

Hastag: Bonafide!

A couple weeks ago, a lovely lady from the Bay Area company NatureBox offered to send me their November box to review.  Healthy snacks that aren’t a meatball, a Larabar, or a slimy baby carrot?

BRING IT!

Merlin investigates...

Merlin investigates, Brandi Glanville gesticulates…

The box contained generous packages of 5 different snacks and a card with descriptions of the foods and a recipe that used one of the items.

So colorful and cute!

So colorful and cute!

A quick scan of the nutritional information revealed that every item is vegan and free of the following yuckies:

* High fructose corn syrup

* Partially hydrogenated oils

* Trans fats

* Artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors

You better believe I broke into those babies right away!

First up:  Cinnamon Spiced Granola

Delicious clusters of wintery goodness!

Delicious clusters of wintery goodness!

This granola was delicious.  The nutmeg and cinnamon plays perfectly this time of year.  Since granola is relatively caloric, I would sprinkle this on yogurt or oatmeal for crunch and additional flavor.  After I wrote that, I realized that the card suggested the same thing.  Great minds…!

Next up:  Chipotle Maple Almonds

Hee hee.  This bag says "nuts"...

NOMNOMNOM.

LOVED.  THESE.  Munching on them as I type.  They have quite a bit of kick and a really interesting combination of flavors: maple, onion, ginger, cayenne, apple vinegar, espresso.  More, please.  Now, please.

*Edited to say that these totally got me through two demanding concerts.  Where can I get more?  I’m having withdrawals.

So crunchy!  So ranch-y!

So crunchy! So ranch-y!

The Country Ranch Peas were another winner.  So good, in fact, that I had about three and came home to an empty bag.  Lady tested, dude approved!  You owe me a bag of ranch peas, sir…

For some reason, technical difficulties are preventing me from posting the additional pictures (….’cause they were so illuminating…).  Thanks, internet!

The Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Seeds were tasty.  I had never actually had pumpkin seeds.  The roasted garlic flavor was very subtle so no need to worry about dragon breath when your boss comes by to collect your TPS reports.  The only problem with these is that they’re so teeny.  I can see myself eating the entire bag in one commute.

The Carrot Chips were my least favorite.  I’m not a huge fan of sweet things that aren’t sugary sweet.  These had great crunch and were a perfect size for munching but the flavor wasn’t my jam.  Carrot lovers will be a big fan.

I think NatureBox is a fantastic service.  I would definitely pay for it with my own money.  At $20/month, I think it’s a good value for a great product.  Hopefully my family isn’t reading this because I think a few of them will be getting subscriptions!

If you’re interested in trying it, NatureBox is generously offering  a coupon!

The promo code CARROT may be used for 25% off your first month’s subscription (please note that the 25% discount is only applicable to the month-to-month subscription. 6 month subscriptions receive 1 month free and 12 month subscriptions receive 3 months free.)  If you try it out, I’d love to hear about your experience!

What’s your favorite healthy snack?  I seriously need help with this area of my life.

N.B.: Nature Box provided this box free of charge for me to review.  The opinions are all my own!