Friday, December 31, 2010

Crafty giveaway

Win an awesome bundle of fabric and a quilt pattern at Stray Stitches! Giveaway ends on January 9, 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Running gear giveaway

JerBear Shares is giving away an awesome stash of running gear, including a Road ID! Check it out here!

Vegetarian giveaway

Leslie Loves Veggies always has awesome giveaways! Check out this one for ecoVegan products!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bear Naked Grainola Bars


I just had one of these for lunch and it was DELICIOUS! I had the tropical fruit variety, which is not one I would normally pick but I had received it in a goody bag and was saving it. (aka, I wasn't sure if I'd like it so I hadn't broken into it yet.)

I LOVE oatmeal so a base of whole grain oats is a good start. The texture of these bars is super soft and chewy, just shy of falling apart. But the sticky sweet tapioca syrup, honey, maple syrup and date paste keep them together. I loved the tangy citrus taste from the orange peel, mango and pineapple. I got the toasted sesame flavor and the warm vanilla and almond notes as well.

At 220 calories, I made this a meal with a piece of fruit and a snack of veggies and dip earlier today. The bar's 4 grams of dietary fiber filled me up nicely, just like eating a bowl of oatmeal.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Winner!

Random Number Generator has spoken. The winner of the one 12-pack of Deep Chocolate VitaTops is:

Julia of Enjoy the Ride

Congrats Julia and thanks to Vitalicious for letting me give away some tasty chocolate goodness!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Deep Chocolate VitaTops Giveaway

After I alerted them to my review of their awesome products, the friendly people at Vitalicious are keeping me well-informed on the latest news and availability of their tasty, low-calorie, high-fiber treats!

The latest news: Deep Chocolate VitaTops 12-packs are now available at Costco stores in the Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, OH, WI). But only for a limited time! So run to your nearest Costco!

But, if you don't have a Costco nearby, no need to cry. Those gracious people from Vitalicious are giving away one 12-pack of Deep Chocolate VitaTops to one of my lucky readers! There are four ways to enter, you can do any or all of them. Just be sure and leave a separate comment for each one:

1-Comment on this post about your favorite chocolate treat. Doesn't have to be low-calorie. :)

2-Become a follower of this blog or let me know if you already are.

3-Spread the word! Post about my giveaway (with a link back) on your blog or facebook and leave a comment telling you did so.

4-Visit my personal blog and comment on a post there. Then come back her and let me know that you did it.

Comments will be accepted through midnight on April 16th, 2010. I will announce the winner on Saturday the 17th and I'll email them for their mailing info. Good luck, everyone!

AND! Did you know Vitalicious has their own giveaway going on right now? You can win a Nike + iPod package! Just head on over to their site and tell them your favorite walking song!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Holey Donuts (yuck) and Vitatops (YUM!)


My wonderful husband knew I had been wanting to try Holey Donuts so he ordered 3 boxes of different assortments as an anniversary treat! He's such a sweetie! It's important to note that I do not blame him at all for the bland, raw-dough flavored donuts that arrived. When they arrived, the filled varieties were slightly better than the unfilled simply because they have SOME moistness from the filling but for the most part they all have the same bland, white bread flavor and dry, stale texture! Holey Donuts states that their products will remain fresh in your freezer for up to 2 months. After only one month the donuts were basically completely stale, inedible whether you microwaved them or let them sit for a few minutes on the counter. (Both methods that the company gives you for preparing them.) They have a raw, doughy taste and are so dry and tough, I couldn't believe it! I had read such good reviews but I suppose most of those reviews were on blogs that were given donuts to test out and give away as a promotion.
I was really dissatisfied and disappointed with these. I can't understand why people think they are so great tasting. To me they taste like stale, dry wonder bread with the slightest smear of frosting. I emailed them, letting them know that they were not even close to being worth the price they charge and did not stay fresh as long as they stated.

Their response was a very polite email stating that they do not offer money back guarantees on quality or personal experience. They only refund money if the shipment is destroyed during delivery.

I give Holey Donuts a BIG thumbs down. They look pretty but taste like stale bread.

Vitatops on the other hand are awesome!! I purchased the Gift of Health basket which contains a sampler of 20 Vitatops. Just like Holey Donuts, you store these in your freezer.
But unlike Holey Donuts, they stay fresh because they are individually wrapped and they are ALL delicious! My favorites are Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip, Golden Corn and BlueBran. Each Vitatop has only 100 calories, a good amount of fiber and protein and contain no artificial additives or preservatives! To eat, simply pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds still in the plastic wrapper. That's the secret to keeping them moist! You can order Vitatops online but I've also seen them at Supermarkets like Meijer and Kroger.

I give Vitatops a BIG thumbs up! For a low calorie, sweet treat, choose Vitatops, NOT Holey Donuts. They regularly have discounts and shipping promotions, too! The most recent offer is 5% OFF your next online purchase when you enter coupon code: EWCQ3TQYQ.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Vegetarian gelatin alternatives

In my last post I talked a bit about gelatin and how a lot of products aren't vegetarian because they contain it as a thickener. But I really like gelatin! Vegetarian gelatin alternative, that is!

One of my favorites is actually a pre-packaged product. Dole Fruit Gels are made with carrageenan. These awesome gel cups are vegan except for the black cherry variety, which is colored with cochineal. My favorite is the lime with pineapple, yum!
For do-it-yourself gel, I like KoJel. It is a Kosher jel dessert made with carrageenan and can be found in the Kosher section of your supermarket. It comes in flavors very similar to Jell-o and is nice and clear. (unlike some agar agar-based gels) As I said before, you cannot assume that Kosher gelatin is vegan unless it specifically states in the ingredients that it uses a non-animal agent. In the very confusing Kosher rules, beef or fish gelatin can be consider meatless if it has been processed in such a way that the meat ingredients make up 1/60th or less of the final product. Therefore, because it is considered pareve (neither meat nor milk), the label or common sense may lead you to believe it is vegetarian. But it's not. It's considered meatless, for those keeping Kosher, but to those who value vegetarianism, it's not. Moral of the story-read your labels and if a food lists Kosher gelatin, it's probably NOT vegetarian unless it says it's from a non-animal source.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Breyers Lowfat Yogurt Inspirations


Breyers is not my usual brand of yogurt. But when I saw the Breyers Inspirations lowfat yogurt in mint chocolate chip, I had to buy a package. I've got to say, it's not half bad.

The mint flavor is unexpected in a yogurt, but it does remind me half-melted mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt which makes it seem more acceptable. The chocolate flavored chips (not actual chocolate) melt nicely compared to some fake chocolate products which can be chalky or have a weird texture. I think the coconut oil helps them melt on your tongue.

I tend to like a yogurt in the 60-100 calorie range and these are 140 each which puts them a little high for me. But these are low fat as opposed to the nonfat yogurts I usually choose.

A bit about gelatin in yogurt: Yes it contains gelatin, which most yogurts do. This makes it not vegetarian if you are strict about that sort of thing. I tend to think the benefits of yogurt offset the minute amount of gelatin in there but if given a choice I try to choose those that do NOT contain gelatin. You may notice most yogurts mention kosher gelatin. I REALLY wish they would mention the source of the gelatin and not just that it is kosher. Specifying kosher gelatin does not mean it is not from cow or fish and unless they mention the use of a non-animal kosher gelling agent like agar-agar, guar gum, carrageenan, or xanthan gum it is safe to assume that the kosher gelatin used is from animal sources. Some yogurts, such as Dannon Naturals, use pectin instead of gelatin.

INGREDIENTS: CULTURED PASTEURIZED GRADE A SKIM MILK, FRUCTOSE, SUGAR, CHOCOLATE FLAVORED CHIPS (COCONUT OIL, SUGAR, COCOA {PROCESSED WITH ALKALI}, COCOA BUTTER, NATURAL FLAVOR), CORNSTARCH, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CREAM, KOSHER GELATIN, TAPIOCA STARCH, PECTIN, NATURAL FLAVOR.

Friday, February 19, 2010

EA Sports Active for the Wii


EA Sports Active is the BEST workout you can get from a Wii. And you can quote me on that! But you get out of it only what you're willing to put in. You can cheat on the exercises, especially the sports drills. But DON'T and you'll be rewarded! I have seen improvement in my shoulder strength (I can now Chaturanga at yoga class on my toes instead of dropping to my knees during all the flows!), my legs (especially glutes and inner thighs) are stronger and my balance has improved.

I had been doing the workouts for a few months before I officially started my 30-Day challenge. And I used the game as a mini workout after I injured my ankle, I could do the arm exercises and then once my ankle was feeling a little better I did a little more. The balance exercises really helped improve my flexibility and balance on my bad ankle!

Pros:
Not a bad workout! Some days are more cardio heavy than others so you burn more calories but some days are tough on your arms or legs so you WILL feel it somewhere!

Good mix of upper and lower body moves and the game shakes it up and mixes them up for you so you don't have to think about what moves to do each day.

Motivation through trophies and different levels of sports drills. I am WAY motivated by rewards! And the trophies kept me going. But you'll see that they are also a con.

You can dress your person up on neat outfits! This helped me stay interested in the game during a dull streak when I didn't really want to do anymore side to side lunges or run yet another boring lap in place in my living room. Here I'm wearing a cute little pink jogging outfit, sunglasses and I changed my hair to one ponytail instead of pigtails.


Cons:
Because the Wiimote and the Nunchuck differ, occasionally the exercises are uneven (lunges on the left are held longer than lunges on the right, it takes longer for the Wii to register that you have finished a left shoulder press than a right shoulder press) This was super-annoying to me!

The resistance band that comes with the game is a JOKE, hardly enough resistance for even over the head presses. Easy to remedy though-buy a new one!

No abdominal exercises. The standing work they have you do is minimal but while it didn't help my abs, it did improve my balance after my ankle injury!

At the end of the 30-Day challenge there was no fanfare! No fireworks or a jaunty little tune to reward me! There was only a video of Bob Greene telling me to do it all over again. Thanks.
And here's the trophy I got, not exactly very exciting for what I thought was a pretty good level of commitment.

Conclusion: Totally worth it as long as you provide your own resistance band and aren't too bummed out that there is no HUGE party when you earn that 30-Day challenge trophy. I am ready to move on to EA Sports Active More Workouts, the second game in the series!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And the winner is...

With many thanks to Progresso for the prize package and Random.org for the Random Number Generator, I am pleased to announce the winner:

Cheryl F.

Congrats! And thanks everyone for entering!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Progresso Soup review with Giveaway!


Welcome to my very first review post! Progresso sent us an awesome selection of soups to try out and I also get to give away a prize package! (see bottom of this post) Progresso also has a great contest going on on their website for a HUGE prize! Three grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two to New York City from May 21st-23rd. The prize includes roundtrip airfare, a two-night stay in a NYC hotel, a full makeover, a $1,000 wardrobe shopping spree and personal consultation at a New York department store.

To enter, you’ll need to do the following:

* Go to www.Progresso.com/SouperYou to learn more and enter the contest

* Submit your essay (200 characters or less) telling Progresso why you love Progresso Light or 100 Calorie Soups and why you would like a makeover

* In addition, please submit a photo of yourself that visually reinforces the theme of your essay

In addition, throughout the duration of the contest you can visit www.Progresso.com/SouperYou to download a coupon for $1 off any three varieties of Progresso Soup!

Review:
So, on to the soups. I love Progresso soups and the Light and Reduced Sodium varieties are no exception. In fact, I like the Light variety because they don't taste watered-down like a lot of light soups do. I love lunching on a grilled cheese on double fiber bread and a mug of warm Minestrone! Or a garlic breadstick and a bowl of Tomato Rotini! My husband is in love with their Chicken and Dumpling flavor, so hearty! They have a TON of flavors to choose from and lots of them are endorsed by Weight Watchers!

My main issue with Progresso soups are that there are very few I, as a vegetarian, can eat. And several of their flavors are very nearly deceiving in that they sound like they SHOULD be vegetarian but disappointingly aren't. Like the Light Zesty Southwestern Style Vegetable in my picture below. First ingredient: chicken broth.
This is the label from the Light Vegetable and Noodle, which would be PERFECT for cold winter days or stuffy nose-sore throat days. IF the first ingredient weren't chicken broth, even though it's not called chicken noodle, it's called Vegetable and Noodle.Of ALL 76 of Progresso's flavors (including soups from all 6 varieties), only this handful (17) are vegetarian. (These are not all Vegan, thanks to milk and egg products in many of the pastas so you vegans get even fewer choices.)

Light Vegetable
Light Italian Style Vegetable
High Fiber Creamy Tomato Basil
High Fiber Homestyle Minestrone
Reduced Sodium Garden Vegetable
Reduced Sodium Minestrone
Vegetable Classics Lentil
Vegetable Classics Tomato Basil
Vegetable Classics 99% Fat Free Lentil
Vegetable Classics Macaroni and Bean
Vegetable Classics Creamy Mushroom
Vegetable Classics Hearty Tomato
Vegetable Classics Minestrone
Vegetable Classics Tomato Rotini
Vegetable Classics Vegetarian Vegetable with Barley
Vegetable Classics Garden Vegetable
Vegetable Classics Vegetable Italiano

See that last streak of "Vegetable Classics"? What gets me is that you can't even safely pick up all of the Vegetable Classics and get vegetarian soup. Their French Onion, 99% Fat Free Minestrone, Hearty Black Bean, Hearty Penne in Chicken Broth, Green Split Pea with Bacon, and Vegetable soups in the Vegetable Classics line all contain meat ingredients!

Giving Away:
Progresso (through MyBlogSpark) is going to give one lucky CorgiPants reader a giftset including a mug like the one above, a cool jump rope that counts your jumps for you and two cans of Progresso Soup!

How to enter: Leave a comment here telling me if you read the ingredients label on a soup before you by it. Entries will be accepted through January 12, 2010 and a winner will be selected through random draw on January 13 because 13 is my lucky number!

You can get a second entry by posting about my giveaway on your blog and then leaving a second comment saying you have done so.

Progresso provided me with the free product, information, and gift pack through MyBlogSpark