mini vitacakes

A few months ago, the wonderful folks at Vitalicious sent me some of their new mini Vitacakes to sample.

Mini Vitacakes are a smaller version of their Vitatops, which are sold only in Chocolate and clock in at only 50 calories!  They are a perfect way to curb your chocolate craving.

From their website:

For the moments you need a chocolate fix without breaking the calorie bank –

We created a snack that requires no deliberation or justification – just delicious satisfaction. We made our new 50-calorie Fudgy Chocolate mini VitaCakes because we couldn’t find anything like them anywhere.

Truly unique, these treats are packed with vitamins, fiber and protein to keep you both full and fulfilled throughout the day. A mini VitaCake indulgence is a no brainer – each of the 50 calories in our mini VitaCake works hard so you can enjoy a filling, guilt-free snack anytime.

I loved these Mini Vitacakes!  Normally, I prefer more whole foods as snacks, but sometimes you just need a treat and don’t have time to make it.  That’s when these are great.  You keep them in the freezer, so you can always have them on hand without worrying that they may go bad.  (I have a 24 pack in my freezer right now!)  They defrost very quickly by leaving them out for a few minutes, or by microwaving them for 10 seconds!  I recommend microwaving because it makes the chocolate chips all melty and delicious. :)

They are perfect after any meal for a small chocolate fix, or mid-afternoon with a cup of tea (my personal fave!).

I was also sent the newest flavor of Vitatops – Banana Chocolate Chip!

This is by far my favor Vitatop flavor!  It tastes just like Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips…what could be better?!

I believe that the mini Vitacakes are only sold online at this time and come in a pack of 24.  You can purchase other Vitalicious products in the freezer section of your local grocery store.

I hope you enjoy!!

Read my previous review on Vitatops here.

amy’s light & lean meals

About a month ago, I was contacted to try some new frozen meals from Amy’s Kitchen.  Normally, I don’t buy frozen meals, but when I do, I lean towards Amy’s because they are vegetarian (many are vegan) and contain ‘real’ ingredients.  It is nice to have a few meals on hand for those nights that you really don’t want to cook or need something really quick!  My favorites to keep on hand are their burritos and soups!  I was excited to try their new Light & Lean meals!

Amy’s five new Light & Lean meals all contain less than 300 calorie and 5 grams of fat.  They are:

  • Bean & Cheese Burrito
  • Roasted Polenta
  • Spaghetti Italiano
  • 3 Cheese Penne Marinara
  • Sweet and Sour Asian Noodle

You can find them in the freezer section of many grocery stores for under $5.00.  Don’t the flavors sound good?

Bean & Cheese Burrito

Since I really enjoy Amy’s other Burritos, I already knew that this one would be good!  The wrap is filled with plenty of beans and cheese making it taste great.  The burrito was a little bland, but I would much prefer that than it being overly salty, as many frozen meals are.  This burrito clocks in at 280 calories and 5 grams of fat.  Add a piece of fruit, and this would make a perfect quick lunch.

And, the best part?!  The ingredients are R-E-A-L!

(from the website) Ingredients : 0g Trans Fat/No Added MSG/No Preservatives Organic pinto beans, organic wheat and whole wheat flour, filtered water, organic brown rice, organic tomato puree, organic onions, organic bell peppers, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheeses (pasteurized milk, culture, salt, annatto, enzymes [without animal enzymes or rennet]), sea salt, organic sweet rice flour, spices, organic wheat gluten, organic garlic, organic cornstarch. Contains milk and wheat.

Roasted Polenta

I was most excited to try the Roasted Polenta.  I don’t eat polenta very often, but when I do, it always tastes so good!  And, it is paired with swiss chard – yum!  This meal was by far my favorite!  I heated this in the microwave and the polenta was soft, but the outside was still a bit crisp.  The combination of the polenta, swiss chard and tomato sauce was delicious.  Really good for a frozen meal!

At only 140 calories and 4 grams of fat, this would make a really good snack!  Or, pair it with something else to make more of a meal.  I don’t know about you, but 140 calories isn’t enough of a meal for me.

(from the website) Ingredients : 0g Trans Fat/No Added MSG/No Preservatives Organic tomato puree, organic zucchini, organic swiss chard, organic lowfat milk, organic cornmeal, organic onions, filtered water, mushrooms, Monterey Jack Cheese (pasteurized milk, culture, salt, enzymes [without animal enzymes or rennet]), organic bell peppers, extra virgin olive oil, grade aa butter (cream, salt, annatto), organic garlic, sea salt, organic evaporated cane juice, black pepper. Contains milk.

Spaghetti Italiano

This spaghetti and meatballs dish tasted yummy, but there wasn’t anything particularly special about it.  Don’t get me wrong, I ate every last bite because it tasted great.  The meatballs were crumbly and mixed in to the pasta, which I liked.  The meatballs are made of lentils, quinoa and tofu and I could see bits of lentils and quinoa.  The other thing I liked – there were whole pieces of broccoli!  It was nice to have chunks of veggies in the meal.  At 240 calories and 5 grams of fat, this could be a good meal paired with a slice of toast.

(from the website) Ingredients : 0g Trans Fat/No Added MSG/No Preservatives Organic pasta (organic semolina flour, organic whole wheat flour, water), organic tomato puree, organic zucchini, organic onions, filtered water, organic broccoli, organic long grain red rice, organic tofu (filtered water, organic soybeans, nigari [magnesium chloride, a natural firming agent]), organic quinoa, wheat gluten, extra virgin olive oil, organic green lentils, organic bell peppers, se salt, organic garlic, organic unbleached wheat flour, basil, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, flax seed, spices, organic evaporated cane juice, black pepper, fennel seed, honey, natural hickory smoke flavor, yeast. Contains soy and wheat.

3 Cheese Penne Marinara

I was pleasantly surprised by this meal!  It is a freezer meal, so my thought it that the pasta would be mushy and the meal would be flavorless.  I should have known better from Amy’s, though.  It tasted a lot like baked ziti, which I love!  It had a decent amount of cheese, too.  Not exactly like homemade, but perfectly fine in a pinch.  I really enjoyed it!  It clocks in at 270 calories and 5 grams of fat, so pair it with a side of veggies or a big salad and you could have a good meal.  I roasted some broccoli and stirred it right in to the penne.

(from the website) Ingredients : 0g Trans Fat/No Added MSG/No Preservatives Organic pasta (organic semolina flour, organic whole wheat flour, water), filtered water, organic tomato puree, organic onions, whole milk Mozzarella Cheese (pasteurized whole milk, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, enzymes [without animal enzymes or rennet]), Fontina Cheese (pasteurized milk, culture, salt, enzymes [without animal enzymes or rennet]), Parmesan Cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, culture, salt, enzymes [without animal enzymes or rennet]), sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, organic garlic, black pepper. Contains milk and wheat.

Sweet and Sour Asian Noodle

This was the only meal that I didn’t really like.  And, I think it was because of the flavors.  The noodles were not mushy and there were chunks of veggies and tofu, which was great.  But, I tasted too much sesame oil, and I’m not a huge tofu fan.  I still gobbled it right up, paired with a fresh salad, but it just wasn’t my favorite.  The meal has 250 calories and 3 grams of fat.

(from the website) Ingredients : 0g Trans Fat/No Added MSG/No Preservatives (Vegan) Organic rice pasta (organic rice flour, water), organic broccoli, organic green beans, organic carrots, organic tofu (filtered water, organic soybeans, nigari [magnesium chloride, a natural firming agent]), organic cabbage, organic tamari (water, organic soybeans, salt), pineapple juice, organic evaporated cane juice, organic bell peppers, organic green onions, organic onions, filtered water, organic lemon juice, organic ginger, organic sesame seed oil, organic cornstarch, organic garlic, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, spices, black pepper. Contains soy and sesame seed oil.

Overall, I really enjoyed these meals and would definitely consider purchasing them to have as back up in my freezer for nights when cooking isn’t an option.  But, I still prefer home cooked meals if I have the time.  With kids, though, you never know what is going to happen. :)

Amy’s Kitchen has a large variety of other frozen dinners meals, such as pizza, desserts, chili, breakfast bowls, snacks, etc.  I would definitely try feel comfortable buying these meals due to the real food ingredients, and because they taste pretty good!  Since these Light & Lean meals all come in at under 300 calories (some well under 300 calories), I felt that I needed to eat something else along with the meal.  I mainly ate the meals for lunches and paired them with a yogurt and a piece of fruit.  By doing that, they made a perfectly satisfying meal.

Thanks, Amy’s Kitchen, for letting me try these meals!

smaller meals & snacks

I have been so hungry when I wake up over the past few weeks.  I try to get up and drink some water right away because I also feel very thirsty, but that doesn’t keep me out of the kitchen for long!  It’s usually around the time I am brushing my teeth that my stomach really starts grumbling. :)

I head to the kitchen for some cereal to hold me over.

Pomegranate Blueberry Crisp from Trader Joe’s.

It is delicious, but a little too sweet for me in the mornings.

I also usually whip up a smoothie to drink mid-morning at work, when I knew I will be hungry again.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 8 frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp pepitas
  • 1 cup water

I love smoothies as a morning snack!  They are filling and refreshing.

For lunch today, I made an old favorite, which was pieced together after scouring through our empty cabinets and fridge for lunch.

Almond Butter, Banana and Jelly Sandwich on Millet Bread.

(this is a recycled photo, but you get the point! :))

I seem to get hungrier for snacks than I did before and I think it is because my meals have been smaller.  I don’t have as much room for food in my stomach anymore (!!), so smaller meals and snacks sit much better with me.

Snacktime  – Hummus & Spelt Pretzels

And, for dinner, I stopped at Panera Bread on my way to our Newborn Essentials class!

Thai Chicken Salad, which was packed with romaine lettuce, chicken, peppers, carrots, edamame, wonton crisps and a light thai dressing.

This salad was great!

And, during class I snacked on a Blueberry Muffin Larabar, which is a new flavor that was sent to me from Larabar as a sample.

This flavor is delicious!  It smells just like fresh baked muffins and tastes just as good.

o.n.e. coconut water

I received a very generous package of O.N.E. Coconut Water months ago, and I am just getting around to writing a review!

As we all know, I love coconut water!  I love the taste and its great health benefits.  You can read all about the benefits of coconut water here.

Now that I am pregnant, I enjoy coconut water even more.  It is important to stay hydrated when you are pregnant and sometimes water just doesn’t cut it!  I like having a little something else every other day or so, and coconut water is definitely my go to beverage of choice these days.  It tastes refreshing and delicious!  Plus, it helps to keep me hydrated and gives me some added benefits of calcium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and sodium.  And, it is all natural with no added preservatives or sugars, so it is good for me and the baby!

Lucy, at One Natural Experience, sent me a few different flavors to try, including their new line of sports drinks!

According to their website:

O.N.E. Active starts with the pure water from inside a young green coconut – nature’s original sport drink – then we add ginkgo biloba, panax ginseng, catuaba bark and antioxidants. Because O.N.E. Active contains essential minerals – potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium – in the form of electrolytes, it is absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream, speeding fluid to your cells to rehydrate, refuel and replenish your body. Quick absorption is essential for warding off fatigue, cooling the body and achieving peak performance.

Plain coconut water is already a great choice for a sports drink, so this Active coconut water contains those great benefits with an added bonus.

I really enjoyed the active coconut water (lemon-lime was my favorite!).  It was a bit sweet, so I like it more mixed with a little plain water, but overall it had a great taste.  It does not have that artificial taste that many sports drinks have.  And, it contains all good ingredients!

I was also sent my absolute favorite coconut water out there – with a splash of pink guava.

According to the website:

Just as the name suggests, O.N.E. Coconut Water with a Splash starts with our pure coconut water and we add a splash of fruit juice to offer tropical flavors like Mango, Pineapple and Pink Guava. Containing more than 85 percent coconut water, Splash offers tasty selections that still provide all the health benefits of drinking plain coconut water.

This line of coconut water is awesome because it tastes like regular coconut water with (like it says) just a splash of fruit juice.  It is not too sweet and is still thirst quenching.  All of the flavors are good, but the pink guava is by far the best in my book!

I would love to see a splash of lime. :)

O.N.E. also has a kids line of coconut water drinks!

According to their website:

O.N.E. Kids is a great tasting, super hydrating and nutritious beverage with less sugar than typical fruit juices, and the five essential electrolytes naturally present in coconut water. It’s O.N.E. huge step for kids and parents who care about their health.
 
I, honestly, can not wait to try these!  They sound delicious. :)

my newest cravings – carbs!

I still can’t figure out if my cravings are really from being pregnant, or just normal cravings that every woman has. What I do know, is that I give in to my cravings much more these days…and I love it. :)

This week, my newest obsession is cereal. But, not just any cereal…crunchy cereal! The last few days, I have been loving Kashi Go Lean Crunch – Honey Almond Flax.

It is crunchy and sweet, without being overly sweet.

And, I love it topped with banana and served with freezing cold milk.


The ingredient list isn’t so bad, and the nutritionals are definitely up to par. With 200 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein it will keep you full and satisfied for awhile.


Other favorites for lunches have been hummus sandwiches made on homemade bread (made with my new breadmaker!!) filled with hummus, spinach/lettuce and cucumbers.

This might be my absolute favorite lunch…it’s delicious and satisfying. Two really important things!

Along with my sandwiches, I try to eat a piece of fruit and a yogurt for more staying power.

And, for dinners I have been craving carbs! So, the other night we decided to make up a lighter Mac & Cheese that I found in my Women’s Running magazine.

It was delicious! Made with butternut sqaush and a limited amount of cheese…it still tasted cheesy!

We cheated and used frozen butternut squash, which made the dish extremely simple to make.

You just mix everything up.

Pour into a baking dish, sprinkle on a breadcrumb and parmesan mix and bake for 30ish minutes!

It bakes up with a crispy, crunchy top which makes a perfect mac & cheese.

This is definitely a dish worth making…and it served us both for 3 meals!

amazing grass products

A few months ago, the wonderful folks at Amazing Grass sent me some samples of their protein powder and bars to try out.

I already knew that I love Amazing Grass products, but I was really excited to try out the new Vanilla Chai flavor!

If you are not familiar with Amazing Grass products, they have a variety of protein powders, superfood powders and energy bars.  Each of their products contain plant based mixes of whole fruits and vegetables that allow you to easily get some green nutrition every day.

Personally, I prefer to get my nutrients from the actual foods – eating whole veggies, fruits, etc – but, I love these Amazing Grass products when I am on the go or running out the door and don’t have a chance to eat as many fruits and veggies that day.  I always pack a few packets with me to take on vacation, like I did when we went to Florida last week.  Mixed with milk or water, they make a great post-workout snack or a regular snack while on the go.

Superfoods

From the Amazing Grass website:

Amazing Grass Green SuperFood is a perfect blend of alkalizing greens, antioxidant rich whole food fruits and vegetables, immune boosting support herbs, and friendly pre & probiotics. Our powder mixes so easily with water; you’ll wonder how essential green nutrition could taste this good.

The green superfood definitely tastes, well, green!  To me, I don’t love the taste alone, but mixed with a smoothie, I can hardly taste it!  Luckily, there are a variety of flavors to choose from – chocolate and berry are my favorite.  The chocolate mixed with 8oz of milk tastes like chocolate milk (with a green kick!). :)  It also makes you feel great and gives you a boost of energy if needed.

Amazing Meal

From the Amazing Grass website:

Amazing Meal is a powerful and satisfying blend of Green SuperFoods, plant based protein, phytonutrient rich fruits & vegetables, digestive enzymes and probiotics. The way Mother Nature intended…Organic, Raw and Delicious.

The ‘meal’ powders are my absolute favorite, especially the chocolate!  Mixed with milk and a banana (and blended), it makes an amazing meal on the go.  Chocolatey and delicious, and barely any grassy flavor.  I made one of these smoothies everyday in Florida and it was great.  It gave me plenty of protein, fruit, greens and dairy to start my day refreshed and energized.

The new Vanilla Chai flavor is delicious!

It does contain stevia, which I don’t love due to the taste, but when mixed into a smoothie, I can barely taste it.  I have been mixing this flavor into any type of smoothie, but I particularly love it mixed with cherries!  Cherry Vanilla Chai – yum!

Energy Bars

From the Amazing Grass website:

Our certified Organic Green SuperFood Energy Bars feature a premium blend of nature’s most nourishing and delicious SuperFoods. The energy bars provide health conscious consumers with a more potent, convenient and affordable way to satisfy their hunger and deliver nutrients to their bodies the way Mother Nature intended – unprocessed, organic and delicious.

We’ve combined our best-selling and alkalizing Organic Green SuperFood drink powder with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to create a delicious and healthy treat. Loaded with nutritious organic nuts and seeds…

I was definitely a little skeptical about these bars!  I mean, I didn’t want to eat a bar that tasted like greens…that didn’t seem like fun!  But, I was pleasantly surprised. They have a good, normal bar texture and have a little crunch to them.  My favorite is by far the Chocolate Peanut Butter.  And, I love that they contain all natural and organic real foods mixed up into the bar.  Some bars on the market these days are basically candy bars!

Overall, I love the Amazing Grass products!  I have since found their products are Whole Foods and other Natural Food stores.  They are a little pricey, but you pay for what you get.  These powders and bars don’t contain any fillers, so you are paying for real whole foods (in powder and bar form!). :)

Thanks, Amazing Grass for sending me these awesome products!

manna bread review

A few months ago, Manna Bread sent me some samples of their bread for me to try.  And, by a few samples, I mean a loaf of each flavor they have!

It was extremely generous of them to send me so many samples and I greatly appreciated it!  I really do love the texture and the ingredient list of their breads.

[Disclaimer: I did receive these samples for free, but my review is completely my own.  If I didn’t like the bread, I would definitely tell you so!!]

From the website:

MANNA BREAD® is remarkably simple and wholesome, made entirely from sprouted organic grains, seeds, fruits & nuts. It contains no salt, leavening, yeast, oil, or sweeteners. By fully germinating our grains, we convert the starches into easily digested natural complex sugars, similar to those found in fresh fruits, hence the sweetness. The sprouts are ground and hand-shaped into loaves, baked at a low temperature, then packed and frozen to preserve shelf life, without any chemical additives.

MANNA BREAD® is moist, delicious, cake-like…and simply heavenly!

They are definitely right about that, the bread is extremely moist and cake-like, even after defrosting from the freezer.  The texture is awesome.  I have eaten the bread plain, with jam, nut butters, butter, etc.  It is perfect every single way.

I stuck all of the bread directly into the freezer and am just taking out a few slices as I eat it.  This way, it will keep for up to a year.

Shelf Life of Manna Bread:

Frozen (-10 F) – up to 1 year

Refrigerated (35 F) – 2-3 weeks

Room Temp (65 F) – up to 5 days

I basically liked each of the breads, but I definitely liked a few more than others.  My favorites contained chunks of dried fruit and nuts, like Fruit & Nut and Banana Walnut Hemp!

On to the review…not in any particular order.

Whole Rye

The rye bread is dense!  If you like rye bread, then you will definitely like this.  My favorite way to enjoy it is toasted with a smidge of butter and a side of scrambled eggs. :)

 

Cinnamon Date

Each loaf is fairly small, but very dense and filling, so don’t be fooled by the size!

You can really see the cake-like texture in the photo above!  This bread had a very subtle hint of cinnamon and a few chunks of dates throughout.  It was on the sweeter side, as most of their bread are, but I like that.

Millet Rice

Yum, Yum, Yum!  Millet bread is my all time favorite, and this did not dissapoint.  It was much more moist than the other brands I have bought, which was great.  The only downfall was that it really fell apart before I even ate it.  I love the Millet toasted with jam.

Multigrain

I liked this flavor, but it wasn’t anything special.  It was good with peanut butter, but if I had to choose, I would pick one of their many other flavors before this one.  Like, the carrot raisin!

Carrot Raisin

Look at the hunks of raisins!  I really liked this flavor, but I really like anything with carrots and raisins.  Due to the cake-like texture and the sweetness of the bread, it almost reminded me of carrot cake without the frosting!  Heavenly. :)

Fig, Fennel & Flax

This loaf was topped with tons of seeds!  I love that kind of texture in my bread.  The seeds were only on top though, and I would have liked more figs!  But, the flavor was good – only a hint of fennel.

Fruit & Nut

I loved this!  Generous chunks of dried fruits and nuts made it very fruity and delicious.

Sunseed

The sunflower seeds in this bread made it my absolute favorite.  There is something about sunflower seeds that I love.  They gace the sweetish bread a crunchy and saltier taste.  YUM!

Banana Walnut Hemp

I had tried this flavor before and was excited to be able to try it again.  I love bananas, so I loved this bread.  It has a lot of chunks of dried bananas throughout, which was great.  It is perfect on it’s own!

You can find Manna Bread in the freezer section of your grocery store.  Unless you are going to eat the bread within a few days, I really recommend storing it in the freezer.  For a few loaves, I cut them up into slices, then stuck it in the freezer for easy grab-and-go when you want a slice.

It tastes great toasted!

Thank you, Manna Bread, for letting me sample your bread!

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