Trader Joe’s Almond Butter & Fruit Spread

Last trip to Trader Joe’s, I picked up some new Almond Butter & Fruit Spread.  I got the Raw Creamy Unsalted Almond Butter and also the Roasted Almond Butter with Sea Salt (which will be reviewed in a later post).  I was looking for my beloved Pumpkin Butter, but ’tis all sold out until fall.  I found a new fruit spread, though – Organic Superfruit Spread (a blend of Morello Cherry, Red Grape, Blueberry & Pomegranite).  I tried these both out this morning for breakfast on my brown rice cakes (I also spread them both atop my gluten-free Nature’s Path waffles the other day…YUM!). 

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Trader Joe’s Raw Almond Butter spread on Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Cakes

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Trader Joe’s Organic Superfood Fruit Spread on top of the AB

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Both of these spreads are just amazing.  The almond butter is perfect.  It is less expensive than other comparable brands and I can get it locally, a huge plus in my book.  $4.99 is  much more doable than $7.99 – $10.99 + shipping costs.  I can almost justify my addiction now!  ;)  LOL!  Great texture and a very slight sweet taste.  Spreads great even after being kept in the fridge.  A++++ in my book!  The Superfruit spread is unique and delicious!  Love the chunks of fruit!!  I much prefer fruit spreads to preserves because I don’t need sugar (or HFCS) added to my fruit, thank you.  I also don’t need artificial sweeteners added to my fruit, either.  Some brands of all fruit spreads have really disappointed me because there are no pieces of fruit.  How can you have fruit spread with no fruit?  I don’t want fruit juice spread.  I believe that this spread from Trader Joe’s was $2.99, a great price in my opinion.  The taste is awesome, as is the texture.  Lots of different flavors going on.  Trader Joe’s does it again!

Weekly Menu Plan ~ July 20, 2009

A quick update to my 10K post yesterday and then I will get down to business.  I got the official race results back just a little while ago.  I finished in 53:22; 25th overall (out of 79 people) and 2nd in my age group (out of 13 women).  :)  Not too bad for my first race!  Now I have caught the bug!  I really want to do a few more races before my half in October.

Remember when I said last week that baseball was over?  I was sadly mistaken.  Jon had games last Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday night because they kept winning in the championships.  That isn’t a bad thing, but that is a lot of ball and the games were right at 6 PM every night.  Hard to do anything else or get to the field in time, etc.  Well, it is now over.  They did lose Wednesday night, but had an amazing season and played well.  This week doesn’t look too bad right now (I probably shouldn’t even say that, huh?). 

Sunday ~ The now weekly Rotisserie chicken, steamed green beans, sweet potato & salad

Monday ~ Sweet Thai Chile Salmon, buckwheat, asparagus & salad

Tuesday ~ Mom’s night out! Homemade Macaroni & Cheese for the family, baked beans & cut up fruit

Wednesday ~ BBQ chix, garlic rosemary potatoes or baked potatoes, broccoli & salad

Thursday~ Burgers on the grill, butternut squash fries, zucchini & salad

Friday~ Homemade pizza, veggies & salad

Saturday~ leftovers

Baked Goods

Pamela’s Bread

Pamela’s Bagels

Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust

May try out a Cherry Cake recipe using Bing Cherries!  YUM!

I hope you all have a great week!  Don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for lots of menu planning ideas. 

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New Products

I am always on the look out for new, healthy, gluten-free foods and drinks.  I may find some of my new finds when I am out shopping or I may see them on one of the many blogs that I read or I may find out about them through one of my social networking sites.  I have found many new things that I like this way -things I may not have tried in the past.  The 2 most recent finds are San-J Thai Peanut Mildly Spicy Marinade & Dipping Sauce and La Croix flavored sparkling water. 

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The San-J Thai Peanut Sauce is labeled “gluten-free”.  That is what first attracted me to the bottle.  The ingredients are “Kim friendly”, which you should know if you read my blog, that it is not only gluten-free, but onion free as well.  This sauce has a great flavor!  It does have a little kick to it, but nothing ridiculous like my beloved Sriracha.  :)  I have used it to marinate my chicken in and then grill.  I have used it to dip my Spring Rolls in (Pei Wei Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls).  Anytime I want a little kick, I bring this sauce out.  A++++ from me. 

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I have seen the La Croix Sparkling Water all over blog land and have wanted to try it.  First step was to make sure the “natural flavors” that are in the water are gluten-free.  Yes, they are gluten-free. I found the La Croix on sale at Target for $3/8-pack and got 1 lime & 1 cran-raspberry pack.  What a nice treat these are!  Cool, crisp & refreshing and a nice change from water.  These contain no calories, sweeteners of any kind or sodium.  I drink a ton of water, so it is nice to have once of these with lunch to mix things up a bit.  Another A+++++ from me!

Quick notes:

Anyone out there Twitter?  Twitter is still rather new to me, but I am slowly learning.  I feel really old when trying to learn all this new stuff!! LOL!  If you want, follow me on Twitter!

I have a new article up on the Examiner, so check it out if you have a chance! :) 

Have a nice Saturday night! 

10K & a Product Review

Ran my 10K race today. Unofficial time was 53:30. What an amazing feeling that was. My first race ever. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect; 60 and a light breeze. Odd that it was like Fall in mid-July. I was so nervous leading up to the start of the race. Once I got going, though, it all faded away. What a rush!!! As I was running the first mile or so, I realized what I was doing and actually had tears in my eyes (that actually happened again later on, too…who am I? LOL). I started out running at a 7:40 pace and once I realized it, backed off a little because I knew that I would never be able to pull that off for the whole race. I was passed early on by a girl in a burgundy shirt and she remained a good distance in front of me for most of the race. I could still see her most of the time, but through the trails in the woods, I did lose sight of her. Once we were running back around the lake, I vowed to myself that I was going to do all I could to pass her before we crossed the finish line. Well, I did it!! I have never felt like I was going to puke during a run before, but this time I did. I gave it all I had and it paid off. I was able to pass her and finish strong. (Never did puke, BTW ;) )

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After the race I chugged a whole bottle of water!  Boy, I was thirsty!  Normally I run on the treadmill and have water at my fingertips the whole time.  This was a change.  When I have run at the track at the school, it has been a much shorter distance and water was not needed.  Food was offered after the race…fruit, chips and bakery items, all courtesy of Panera Bread.  I have eaten at Panera bread since going gluten-free, but I was nervous about it here, at a race.  The fruit had all been cut up and I was very concerned about the cross-contamination with the bread products.  Luckily, I had some Sharkies with me, which leads me to my product review.

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I have seen the Sharkies all over the place and have heard of runners using them for fuel during a race.  I didn’t need them during the race today, but wanted something quick & easy to tide me over until I got home for a real breakfast.  I was pleasantly surprised by how good these were!  Chewy & sticky, but what fruit chew isn’t?  There are a number of things I like about Sharkies:

  • Organic
  • Gluten-Free is noted on the box
  • Vegetarian
  • Real fruit for energy & endurance
  • A natural source of electrolytes
  • No HFCS (High-fructose corn syrup)
  • Ingredients you can read & pronounce
  • They taste GOOD!

The ingredients for the Berry Blast are: ORGANIC RICE SYRUP, ORGANIC RICE SYRUP SOLIDS, ORGANIC EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, PECTIN, ORGANIC WHITE GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATE, CITRIC ACID, SEA SALT, COLORS ADDED (BLACK CARROT JUICE CONCENTRATE), NATURAL FLAVORS, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL, CARNAUBA WAX.

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I was able to get this box on clearance at Meijer for $3.00!!  There 5 packages in the box.  They are normally over $1.00/package.  If you are an athlete and have to follow a gluten-free diet, these are a great choice! 

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The News Appears True

Twitter & the gluten-free community has been buzzing the past day or so about the news that Starbucks is discontinuing the Valencia Orange Cake, the only gluten-free food offering on their menu.  They are replacing it with Kind Bars (a fruit & nut bar), which are rumored to be less expensive for the consumer.  This message from a Starbucks employee came across the Celiac Listserv this afternoon:

Hello ___________,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

I apologize, the gluten free Valencia Orange Cake has been

discontinued. Many factors go into the decision to remove something

from our stores, but I understand how frustrating it is when a

product you know and enjoy goes away.

 

I am sharing your desire to bring gluten free Valencia Orange Cake

back into our stores with the Food & Beverage team. I want you to

know that we listen to what our customers have to say and this can

affect change to our product line up. I appreciate you taking the

time to write and share your concerns.

 

I would also like to invite you to visit www.MyStarbucksIdea.com.

This website is a forum where you can share your ideas, tell us what you think of other people’s ideas and join the discussion that will help shape Starbucks future. Many of the ideas shared have already been turned into action. If there are any questions or concerns that I have not been able to

address, please don’t hesitate to call us at 800 23-LATTE (235-2883), we are here Monday through Friday from 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM (PST).

Thank you again,

Shawn H.

Customer Relations

Starbucks Coffee Company

I have also read that they were discontinuing the cake because it seemed like more of a “treat” as opposed to a healthy snack/breakfast.  I kind of thought that was the point, but I could be wrong.  I carry Kind Bars in my purse almost all the time for emergency purposes, I don’t need to go to Starbucks to buy one. 

I am going to make sure to voice my opinion to Starbucks.  Lots of voices make changes.  If you are unhappy about this, make sure to let Starbucks know. 

UpdateSign this petition to help bring back the Valencia Orange Cake!

Product Review: Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix

Hip hip hooray!!!  Another gluten-free product from Betty Crocker!!  This was the last mix in their new line that I hadn’t had a chance to review.  I have had it for a while, but time just gets away from me sometimes.  I hate that!

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This cake was super easy to make.  I took the butter out & set it on the counter this morning and then made the cake at lunch time.  It took less than 5 minutes to mix up & put into the oven.  I baked for 37 minutes at 350.  I used an 8 x 8 pan.  The cake came out great!!

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Once the cake cooled, I frosted it with “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting.  By the way, this frosting makes enough for 2 cakes this size.  When I made the Devil’s Food Cake a few weeks back, I froze the extra frosting and then defrosted it today by placing the container in cold water (thanks Mom!).  The frosting tasted just as good as it did a few weeks back!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.  **From the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa Can.

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I want to start my review part of this post by saying that yellow cake is probably my least favorite of all cakes, however, nothing a little chocolate can’t fix, right?  This cake mix really impressed me.  On top of being really easy to make, it was really moist!  I normally add sour cream or Greek yogurt to my cakes to make them extra moist.  I did not do that today, because I wanted to follow the exact box directions for the review.  Now I can play around the next time I make it.  The taste was great, texture just like a “normal” cake.  Miss Picky Sassy Pants (aka Hannah) asked for a bite of mine before asking for a piece.  She ooooohhhed & aaaaaahhhhed over how good it was!  Now, that is saying something!  Jon also loved it.  Another hit from Betty Crocker!!  All thumbs up here from our household! 

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Note for Ohio peeps or those who have Giant Eagle….these mixes were on sale yesterday for $3.99.  Not sure how long that sale is lasting.  Normal price at Giant Eagle is $4.29. 

Butternut Squash Fries

I love squash.  I love all kinds of squash.  Butternut is one of my recent favorites.  I had been roasting it in some EVOO, salt & pepper, until I saw on various food blogs…..butternut squash fries!!  Holy YUM!!  Why didn’t I think of that?  I make sweet potato fries all the time, why not butternut squash fries?

Making fries out of butternut squash is simple.  I don’t even peel the squash!  I wash it and cut the bottom off.  Then, I cut into fry-like shapes (or as close as I can get to fry-like).  Toss in extra-virgin olive oil or spray with Pam and season as you like.  I just use sea salt & fresh ground pepper, but cayenne, chili powder & cumin would be tasty, too.

Toss into your preheated oven (375 or 400).  Bake for 20-40 minutes, flipping once & keeping a close eye on.  I showed pics of how they look going into the oven.  I didn’t get an “after” shot.  They went into my belly way too fast!  ;) 

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Super healthy & delicious with burgers, chicken or fish.  I also like leftovers over a salad with other roasted veggies. 

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