About Me

My photo
My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Product Review: The Original Breakfast Cookie

I know posting two food product reviews in one day is a little odd (see VitaTops entry from earlier today if my statement's confused you).

But go with me on this one. They're somewhat related, in terms of being reasonably good for you sweet treats.

The best-tasting and filling cookie I know of is The Original Breakfast Cookie made by Erin Baker's Wholesome Baked Goods.

When I first heard of these, some girlfriends from the construction magazine I worked for said they were great, and did I want to split a big order with them? I thought it soundly mildly crazy to pay about a dollar each for breakfast cookies, but my office mate, Becca, said they were "crazy good." She was right. (I defer to her good taste in nearly all food matters. Except perhaps sushi. I'm a California Roll kind of girl.)

We got a mixed batch, and I soon found my three favorites: Mocha Cappuccino, Pumpkin Spice (which is only available October through December), and Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk. I really recommend the Baker's Sampler so you can find your favorites. They also freeze well. The last time I checked, if you live in Michigan, you can only order Breakfast Cookies online. If that is no longer the case, please let me know where to buy them!

I suggest half a cookie as one serving because they're very filling. Also, after you read the package information, you'll see that half a cookie is much more in line with one serving. That said, an whole cookie is a quick meal substitute for breakfast or lunch.

Product Review: Banana Nut VitaTops

Slightly crunchy and carmelized if it features a sugar or streusel over it, the top of the muffin is better than the rest of the muffin, which just crumbles merrily all over my clothing!

I've always thought Panera made the best muffin top, but hadn't really given any competitor a chance until now. I found one in the natural foods frozen section that runs a close second to their tasty muffin tops. The banana nut muffin VitaTops are darned delicious; they also have five grams of fiber.

I've heard other Weight Watcher members rave about various kinds of VitaTops for years, and never picked a package up until this week. They were on sale at Kroger for $3.99 (4 muffin tops per package), which is the best price I've seen in a grocery store. I grabbed the second-to-last package in the freezer.

Use the defrost function on your microwave to heat the VitaTop until the frost is removed and it is slightly heated (times will vary). I haven't tried the VitaTop Deep Chocolate flavor yet, but I hope to find it on sale soon in a store near me.

100 Calories                                     
2 g fat                                               
0 g saturated fat                               
0 g trans fat                                      
0 mg cholesterol                               
5 g protein   
120 mg sodium
50 mg potassium
19 g total carbohydrate
5 g dietary fiber
3 g sugars
4 g sugar alcohol                                     

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Deceptively Delicious Review Part II

To add on to my review earlier this month, as promised: Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food's author Jessica Seinfeld started her deception because her family members wouldn't eat their vegetables and found them "'disgusting.'" She started with an idea of blending in pureed vegetables (butternut squash into mac and cheese for her first attempt) and it took of from there.

I believe the Sloppy Joe recipe I tried this past week alone is worth the price I paid for the book. I will say, however, that making the food purees right before the recipe (which I did) is not recommended. It added probably 20 minutes of prep time, for a total of about one hour from start to finish. Seinfeld takes about an hour making her purees for an entire week. I probably never would do that, because I have very rarely planned a whole week's worth of meals at one crack. But then, I don't have to juggle work, a husband and children, either. Whichever way works for you is fine.

The recipe calls for 1/2-cup sweet potato puree and your choice of either 1/2-cup red pepper (my pick) or butternut squash puree (which I might yet try next, as the red pepper was not fun to peel). I also added some paprika and garlic powder to it, because the garlic cloves it calls for were inadvertently left out and I felt it need a bit more kick. (I have never claimed to be any kind of domestic goddess. That's a good thing, because my family members would die laughing if I even implied such a thing, which would truly be a pity. I'm rather fond of them.)

The next time I make this, I might use pureed tomatoes rather than tomato paste, which means I'll need more of it and also will have to reduce the beef broth accordingly. Otherwise, the result will be sloppy joe soup, which would be just a little too sloppy for me.

I definitely believe that the downside to the cookbook is the lack of individual nutritional information for each recipe. The cookbook, does, however, include some general information about why certain fruits and vegetables are good for you. I did find a copy of the recipe on sparkpeople.com with calories, fat grams, etc. if you're interested in trying it out. It's probably healthier than most sloppy joes you'll be finding at any graduation party you attend, too.