Thursday, June 25, 2009

Smart Balance Omega Natural Peanut Butter

I love shopping at the 99c Store. With the economy being so weak and prices being so high I relish going to this discount store and seeing what new shipments they've gotten in. Many times they have good, name-brand products and I snatch them up as quickly as I can.

This week they had Smart Balance Omega Natural Peanut Butter. The label boasts "deep roasted, great taste!, no trans fat, omega-3's from flax oil, no hydrogenated oil, no refined sugar and 1000mg of omega-3's per serving. (63% of the daily value.) The ingredients are listed as: peanuts, natural oil blend (flaxseed and palm fruit oils), salt, molasses.

Since this seemed so healthy and a bargain at just 99c a jar I bought 5. When I got home I made a sandwich, eager to try it and add to my daily dose of healthy omega-3's. Well...the taste of the flax oil is very prominent. For those who haven't tasted flax oil before, it's also known as linseed oil--the oil used by painters. My grandfather was an artist, so with my first bite I automatically thought of paintbrushes and not sandwiches. The flavor is very overwhelming, even drowning out the taste of the peanuts--and peanuts have a strong flavor!

Flax oil is one of those things where you either love it or you hate it. I've tried to love it and simply can't acquire the taste. To me this peanut butter is inedible and I now know why the 99c Store had so many cases of it.

So, here I sit with 5 jars of the stuff wondering if I should donate it to charity or toss it. I then thought about making dog biscuits for Barnaby (my 10 year old yellow lab.) He may like the taste of this peanut butter. After all, he eats out of the cat box whenever he gets a chance. >:p

I'm sure this peanut butter is pretty pricey at the local supermarket, so unless you absolutely adore the taste of flax oil...pass it up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

South Beach Living Snack Bar Delights Review

Although I'm not too much into the whole South Beach Diet thing, I do like to find quick and easy meal replacements. A friend of mine recommended the South Beach Living Snack Bar Delights so I thought I'd give them a try.

I realize these aren't suppose to replace an entire meal, they're a snack replacement for phases 2 and 3 of the South Beach plan, but I hate eating breakfast. Since I know I should have something to "break the fast" I opted for these tasty bars. I bought a box of Chocolate Raspberry and a box of Peanut Butter.

For the past two weeks I've had one in the a.m. with a cup of coffee. (Okay, not the most nutritious meal on earth.) These bars are actually very good! I've had Zone bars and Atkins bars and every other meal bar you can think of, and these are by far the best. They're very flavorful without tasting like they're "good for you." They're a little bit chewy and a little bit crunchy--nice contrast. I don't feel bloated after eating these either. (I always felt that way with some of the other bars.)

As far as appetite control, they do work. After having one of these in the morning, I don't think about food until 3-4 hours later. At just 100 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber, they're a snack you don't have to feel guilty about! If I find myself famished before dinner and know I'll pig-out on everything in sight, I have one of these bars and many times I don't even finish my entire meal.

Have I noticed any weight loss? Since I'm carrying on with my usual (bad) habits of eating things that aren't the best for me and sitting on my butt in front of the computer all day, I can't say that the pounds are melting off. However, I do feel my jeans aren't as tight as they used to be.

Even if you aren't following the South Beach Diet, I recommend these snack bars as a way to curb your appetite, enjoy a treat every day, and actually feel kind of good about it.

Check back for my other reviews and my opinion of the weight loss supplement CLA.

Friday, June 19, 2009

500 Fat-Free Recipes by Sarah Schlesinger - Review

Recently I was sent a copy of this cookbook and have to admit that I've already read it from cover-to-cover and tried a few of the recipes. It was written in 1994 when the general public and nutritionists thought that fat was evil. Now we know that all fats are not created equal and that some fat in your diet is actually beneficial.

Is that any reason to dismiss this book? Not on your life! The recipes are pure comfort food, even without the fat added. Each recipe uses common foods most of us already have on hand or can easily get at our local supermarket. The lists of ingredients aren't overwhelming, either. There's nothing worse than wanting to try a new dish and finding out you need 20 different ingredients, half of which are either expensive or hard to find.

A couple of my favorite recipes in the book are the Spinach Dip (page 72) served with crispy Wonton Chips (page 76). The Puffed Potato Casserole on page 192 uses only 6 ingredients, is full of flavor, and looks pretty fancy too.

A few changes I make to the recipes are:

~Using a small amount of olive oil

~"healthy butter" (mix half butter with half olive oil)

~"yogannaise" (half regular mayo and half nonfat plain yogurt)

~Extra sharp cheddar cheese and feta cheese (These offer lots of flavor and you can use less. Nonfat cheeses are flavorless!)

~I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray instead of Butter Buds (The spray is easier to use and I think it tastes better)

These small additions still equal a healthy dish, but with far more flavor and satisfaction.

If you want healthy, hearty recipes that are easy to make and kind to your waistline, I highly recommend 500 Fat-Free Recipes by Sarah Schlesinger.

Rating: 8

Suave Skin Firming Lotion - Review - Best Wrinkle Reducer Ever!

I'm a lotion fanatic and buy it every chance I get. I never finish a bottle before buying yet another. I'm also on the lookout for ways to keep my skin smoother and tighter. Being middle aged has its perks, but also it's downsides. Saggy skin and those not-funny laugh lines are just a few of them!

About a year ago I bought a bottle of Suave Skin Firming lotion to use on my arms and legs. A couple of nice ingredients in it are aloe vera, seaweed, and lactic acid. It has a light scent and doesn't feel greasy or heavy. I hate feeling like I'm wearing a layer of Crisco on my face and body!

Well, let me tell you, it worked great and loved the texture of my skin after applying it. One night I needed a face lotion and had misplaced my latest trial product. I grabbed the bottle of Suave and put it on my face...WOW! I could literally see the fine lines disappear before my eyes! Crows feet, forehead lines, mouth lines...all were almost invisible.

For the past ten years I've probably spent thousands of dollars on various wrinkle creams, and am usually disappointed or only halfway pleased. I can honestly say that the Suave Firming lotion has been the best--and cheapest!--lotion I've ever tried. Now I'm never without it.  I just wish they made it in travel sizes.  What I usually do is get a small empty bottle and just put some in it for when traveling.

Give this lotion a try, you won't be let down. Don't let the tiny price fool you!

Rating: 10