Monday, March 18, 2013

Kroger CARBmaster & Greek Yogurts

My family loves yogurt. Or at least they all tell me they do. I would buy yogurt every week at Smith's and a lot of times it would end up getting thrown out because it had expired. I'd eat one every now and again, but Mike barely did. And the kids would say they'd want one but open it and then eat two bites and it would get thrown away. You have all seen the commercials for Yoplait Light and how it can help you lose weight, right? I fell for that too. But have you ever looked at the ingredients? It has aspertame in it which not only tastes gross, but isn't that good for you either. Yes, yogurt is a great choice when you want to lose weight and eat healthy, but you have to choose the right kind! 

I have been a faithful Smith's shopper for the last 4 years and I have grown to love the Kroger store brand items. Most are just as good, if not better, than the name brand. So when I was invited to join the Good For You campaign on BzzAgent, I was stoked! I had seen the CARBmaster yogurts in the store before, but I usually purchased the Kroger blended or fruit on the bottom varieties of yogurt. Truthfully the CARBmaster ones kind of scared me with the "CARB" part of it. I imagined aspertame-tasting yogurt. And I have been leaning more towards Greek yogurts lately too. But I vowed to get some and try them.

Mike got to the CARBmaster ones before me. He was hooked! I bought 4 the first week and the next time I went shopping he asked for more. I was hooked on the Greek yogurts I kept buying. Tangy and thick and oh so good! Honestly I just tried the CARBmaster for the first time right now. It was good but I think I'll stick to my Greek yogurt. 

Here's me and Mercy's head, holding up my Key Lime Pie CARBmaster.

Don't get me wrong, it tastes good. This one in particular tastes exactly like the inside of a key lime pie. Mmmm. But, I'm so used to Greek yogurt, that it was hard for me to eat more than a bite so I gave it to Mercy. Her opinion?

She's a fan. Plus she likes to watch herself on the computer. Silly kid. But this is something I'll continue to purchase because my husband loves it. There's a ton of varieties: Red Velvet Cake, Strawberry, Key Lime Pie, Spiced Pear, White Chocolate Raspberry, Strawberry Banana and Peach just to name a few. Mike's been trying a low-carb diet right now, and has been cutting out gluten from his meals. This makes a great thing to pop in his lunch. 

I also got to try Greek yogurts by Kroger too. The Lite versions contain neotame, which is essentially aspertame and I could taste the super-fake sweetness in them, so not a fan. But the original versions are awesome! The first time I shopped I only found vanilla, strawberry and plain varieties. I'm not so sure about the plain type yet, so I skipped that and bought the strawberry and vanilla. I happened to have a regular Kroger strawberry yogurt in the house so my daughters and I taste tested the difference.

Just looking at the packaging and the Greek one looks better and more appetizing.

At first glance, not much difference. But if you look closely, the Greek yogurt has a lighter color to it. It's colored with black carrot juice instead of artificial coloring, ie. Red 40. I know that some people don't like to ingest artificial coloring, so the natural food dyes rock!

Once we stuck our spoons in you could really tell the difference. The Greek yogurt is much thicker. I prefer a thicker yogurt because I think it's more of a treat to eat!

Grace trying out the Greek strawberry yogurt. She ate a few bites, but Greek yogurt tends to have a "chalky" taste to it. 

She preferred the regular kind. But since she only eats about half a container anyway, she can just share some of Mike's instead. The perk of my kid's not liking my yogurt? They won't eat it all. 

Last week when I was shopping I found cherry and blueberry Greek yogurt. Oddly enough, it wasn't next to the other ones, but in a different door. And they were on sale for $.69 each! Score! And the cherry flavor is my absolute fave! 

I think I might have to brand out and try the plain variety soon. One of the blogs I follow had this amazing post about yogurt toppings! You can check out Roni's post here. She's an amazing inspiration to eat healthy and stay fit. And she has some great recipes at her other website here

I received these products for free to try and review because I'm a BzzAgent

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Adventures in Baby-fooding.

I've discovered homemade baby food. This is the site I've been using. It's awesome and Bethany LOVES it! So far we've made sweet potatoes and acorn squash. Right now I'm making carrots and butternut squash. It's so simple too. Roast the food, puree it up. We got a small food blender thing when we got married and barely used it, but it purees the food perfectly. Some day I'll own a Magic Bullet (kicking myself for not buying it at Smiths when it was down to $35. Oh well). The best part is after I make it, I freeze it in ice cube trays and then once frozen, pop em out and put it in a ziplock bag. Two cubes seems to fill her up and it's so much cheaper than store bought food. We got 2 butternut squash in our Bountiful Basket a few weeks ago and I'm hoping for at least 2 ice cube trays of food. Not to mention the mega huge carrots! One should fill a tray! So excited!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Debt Countdown plus Baby B

What a change baby #3 makes! We had enough tax return to not only pay off my car, but we also caught up on all hospital bills, including her delivery! So we own her now!! According to my mom, this means we need to get started on baby #4, but I don't think that's in our near future. That means a new vehicle and we're not quite ready to tackle that yet. Next on the plan of attack is our Line of Credit and I'm hoping that will take us less than a year to knock out. Wish us luck!

In other news Bethany is 7 months old! Ahhhh! When did she grow so much? She little stinker is now working on solid foods (so far sweet potatoes and bananas go ok, everything else not so much. Doesn't really eat the Gerber stuff. Mostly been doing homemade stuff). She LOVES the puffs that are easy for her to grab and shove in her mouth. And she LOVES the bottle. I'm still nursing and pumping at work, but my supply isn't where it needs to be so we supplement with formula too. Trying a low-lactose right now cause I think she has the same sensitivity to milk that Mercy did. It's all trial and error.

Bethany is also sleeping in her own crib now but sharing a room with Mercy. So far that hasn't gone too bad, but Mercy does like to climb into the crib with Bethany. She used to be a binky baby, but I think she's getting over that. Tends to spit it out instead of sucking on it. And although she hasn't slept through the night yet, I think we're close. Last night she only got up once!

And the big news with her is that she's crawling and pulling herself up to standing! I've even seen her try and cruise around objects while holding on. Walking is close, I fear. What's with these darn babies growing up to quickly!  And she has FIVE teeth now too! Top two "fangs" and 3 on the bottom. Which means she's biting. Ugh. Thankfully not too often.

Here's a few pics of our little sweet pea!

MorningStar Farms

Being a BzzAgent sure does have its perks! I'm in like a bazillion campaigns right now, which is slightly overwhelming, but exciting at the same time. I love having the chance to try things I might not normally buy and let people know what I think!

This time around I got to try a veggie burger by MorningStar Farms. If you've never heard of them, they make veggie burgers along with a plethora of other faux-meat products like chicken patties, wings,  sausage and bacon. I have tried veggie burgers before and not been a huge fan. Honestly, since I'm not a vegetarian, I'd rather just eat a real burger and real bacon, but sometimes switching it up is good. Especially since we're in Lent right now and Fridays are supposed to be meatless, so this is a great time for this campaign!

I picked up a box of the Grillers Prime which supposedly has more of a prime steakhouse flavor. I figured I'd let my husband try them out since he gave up gluten for Lent but I didn't read the box before purchasing it. I also mistakenly assumed there were just 2 burgers in there, but actually there were 4! Sadly for Mike, there is gluten in the burgers so he couldn't have one. And while I'm on the subject, let me tell you what is in them.

Ingredients: Textured vegetable protein (wheat gluten, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, water for hydration) corn oil, sunflower oil, egg whites. Contains 2% or less of: Cornstarch, natural flavors from non-meat sources, soy protein isolate, autolyzed yeast extract, salt, caramel color, onion powder, spices, hydroloyzed vegetable protein (corn, wheat and soy), garlic powder, potato starch, maltodextrin, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, succinic acid, sugar, nonfat dry milk, soybean oil, wheat fiber.

Wow, what a list. Half of that I can't pronounce! And as you can see, these products are not for vegans! Egg whiles and dry milk are included. Honestly, they almost need to call these "soy burgers" instead of veggie burgers. But maybe the inclusion of real veggies in them would take away from the burger taste.

Continuing on. There are 4 in a box and they are packaged in packs of 2 so I decided to try 2 of them out for lunch one Friday afternoon. There are 3 suggested cooking direction: Skillet, Microwave or Grll. Since it's like 14 degrees out and we have a foot of snow still on the ground, the grilling option is out. But I may pick up some more when the summer comes and try them out on the grill. I decided to do mine on the skillet. Cooking them in the microwave was just not very appealing. Skillet cooking was pretty easy - 7.5 minutes on medium heat in a covered skillet. Of course, making sure it reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. It doesn't say to put them in a pre-heated skillet, but I did, figuring it would help to crisp up the edges.

So I cooked them and honestly, they smelled quite good while cooking. If anyone else had walked in right then, they'd probably have thought I was cooking actual beef burgers.
Once they were finished I topped one with munster cheese and left the other plain so I could get an true option on the burger. I'm a cheeseburger girl and I figured I'd prefer that one. 

I was wrong! I actually liked the plain burger better. While it didn't taste like real beef, it was very similar. It didn't taste like fresh beef though, more like a frozen TV dinner patty. I let my oldest try it and she claimed to like it (more on that later). I think I might actually purchase these again in the future. 

We had beef burgers later the next week and my kids hate burgers (weirdos) so I figured I'd just cook up the other two veggies burgers for them. Grace said she wanted one. She took a bite and then said she didn't like it. Kids. Sheesh.

So one thing MorningStar has on their website is a page of recipes you can make with their products. I'm DEFINITELY going to have to buy some more to try out some of these - or substitute real beef, ha ha. Here's a few that look good to me:

Maybe I can sneak them into a meal plan and not tell my kids they're not eating meat! We'll see.

I received this product for free to try and review because I'm a BzzAgent.