Category — Product Review
Let me preface this entire post by telling you I’m not a granola person. I don’t buy it regularly. I never topped my oatmeal with it or ate it straight from the bag.
I think my dislike stems from a bad experience with super sweet granola. You know the kind that has as much sugar as a brownie but doesn’t taste as good? Yeah, that.
So I would never have bought Love Grown Foods’ granola at the store. Thankfully, they were kind enough to send* me a sampler package, which really works out for them since I’ll be stocking up. Here’s why…
1. The granola is made with gluten-free oats and has a very short ingredients list. (Bonus: You can pronounce all of the words.)
2. They also don’t have any refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or trans fats.
3. It’s not too hard. Maybe it’s because I spend the night clenching and grinding my teeth, but hard chunks of granola make my jaw tired. Lame, I know. These were crunchy but not TMJ-inducing hard.
4. So I didn’t try this flavor. See, we were in the car and The Man was about to keel over from hunger, which would have been unfortunate considering he was driving. Still, we had to make it through D.C. before 4 p.m. (Anyone who lives in the area knows why.) Instead of stopping, I gave him a few packs of granola. And this was one of them.
He seemed to like the flavor, though I’m not sure he could taste anything in the 2.7 seconds it took him to devour the granola.
5. The Man went crazy over the Raisin Almond Crunch. Not that I didn’t like it, but I’m not really a fan of foods with raisins—though I’d bet this would be good (and Raisin Bran–like) with milk.
Also, there’s coconut. C’est tout.
6. Cocoa Goodness. Do I really need to say more?
7. I’ve mentioned how my So Restrictive It Better Work Diet (SRIBWD for short) bans sugar. I broke that rule with this granola. It’s made with agave nectar and honey, and I figured that if I were going to cheat, it might as well be with honey and agave instead of, say, an entire molten chocolate cake.
Here’s the thing: When I’m flaring like crazy, I can’t stand up without being in complete agony. Since The Man works during the day, and since I like to eat at least once a day, I need something I can grab fast. You know, for those times when my stomach eats itself and I transform into a cranky version of myself.
The granola was perfect for that, even if it did break the SRIBWD. I kept a bag beside me and if I was starving but flaring, I’d have some granola. I’m thinking of buying more for that purpose. (And, um, maybe because I like it.)
8. You can make this:
Did I make it? Of course not. I found this photo after The Man and I had polished off every bag.
Are you a fan of granola? What’s your favorite kind? Also, anyone interested in a Love Grown Foods granola giveaway?
*I know what you’re thinking: She’s just giving this a good review because they sent it to her for free. I’d be thinking the same thing if this were your blog. I don’t do many reviews of products I receive for free for this very reason. Know this: My reviews are 100 percent honest.
April 26, 2011 22 Comments
So we meet again.
I hope you guys had a great weekend and, if you celebrate it, a nice Easter yesterday. Mine wasn’t super eventful, though I did get to watch a movie I’ve been trying to see for six months.
It started when I tried to find 500 Days of Summer in the PlayStation video store. Strike 1. So I searched the Amazon.com movies on TiVo. Strike 2. Now it wouldn’t make sense for me to strike out in those places and hit a home run with Netflix’s Watch Instantly, but I tried anyway. Strike 3.
But wait, you say. What about iTunes? Right, well I searched iTunes on my computer without luck. And then I searched the iTunes store on our new Apple TV. No 500 Days of Summer.
At that point, I was super annoyed that the studios made it so hard to WATCH THEIR MOVIES. It seemed as if I had only four options:
1. Buy a copy. (I refused on principal.)
2. Steal a copy.*
3. Rent from Blockbuster (if I could find one still open).
4. Up my Netflix subscription to receive disks.
In the end, we changed our Netflix subscription. We had reverted to Watch Instantly because it’s the cheapest option. But we watch a lot of movies and many of those are the sucktastic ones they put on Watch Instantly, so we thought it was worth the splurge.
The good news: I loved the movie. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest spending six months trying to find it.
OK, and in case you haven’t tried it, I want to tell you about an awesome tea The Man found at the grocery store. It’s Tazo’s Vanilla Apricot white tea.
So I’ve only tried it as iced tea (because if I held tea in my hands they’d get hot enough to fry an egg**) but it’s light and refreshing. And while I’m all for dark tea, like Assam, but this is a nice change. Plus, there’s only a hint of vanilla. I hate when tea goes too heavy on the vanilla. It makes my brain hemorrhage. (Or, you know, ache.)
I’m sure it’d be good hot and would probably have a stronger taste.
Pick a side: tea or coffee? Tea drinkers, what’s your favorite kind?
*You know that wasn’t really an option, right?
**Anyone remember the movie Hot Shots! where Charlie Sheen fried an egg on the stomach of a girl with a fever?
April 25, 2011 25 Comments
So The Man and I are on this insane schedule where we don’t make it to bed until 1 a.m. It’s not that I’m tired at night—I could go till 3, really—but mornings suck even more than normal.
I’m convinced I would be five times more productive if I woke up at 11 a.m. and went to bed at 3. The most annoying part about it is that I’m most awake between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Thank goodness for weekends.
Anyway, I wanted to share a cool grocery app* with you. As you know, The Man does all of our grocery shopping. The app’s particularly useful to us, but it’d be just as helpful for humans who can function on their own.
It’s called Grocery IQ, and it’s available on the iPhone/iPad and Android** phones. You can add foods to the list as you think of them or you can go online and add them at once.
Why I like it
- It divides your list into categories (produce, grains, etc.) so you can check all of your items off at once.
- You can create multiple lists. For instance, if you get your produce at Whole Foods but dry goods at Trader Joe’s or Costco, you can keep your lists separate.
- You can add a quantity and descriptions, like “jar” or “box.”
- When you search for an item to add, suggestions automatically pop up.
- When you check an item off of your list, it doesn’t disappear forever. The app keeps your purchase history so you can re-add and item with one click.
- You can share the list (obviously I share mine with The Man).
Things that sounds cool that I don’t use
- Apparently you can scan bar codes to automatically add products to your list.
- Free coupons—I need to check this out.
Oh, and did I mention it’s free?
How do you organize your grocery list? Or do you use one at all?
*The Man will want me to point out that he found the app, not me. Credit has been given where it’s due.
**I always type this as Andriod. It’s like my fingers are protesting the spelling of droid.
April 14, 2011 19 Comments
Well, I’m off work today. I’m spending it at the doctors because I’m a rock star like that.
But before that, I have good news: Since I have enough bumper stickers for everyone who commented on Monday’s post, you all get one. *throws confetti*
I love all of your bumper stickers, though these were particularly funny:
Joanna Sutter: MVURAZ
Wei-Wei: DELUXE HUGS $2
Clarissa: I had a life but my job ate it.
And Ashley, whose cryptic saying had me confused for longer than I’ll admit to you: CUGRB8
But wait, I was also giving away a poster. And random.org says that one goes to No. 19, UrbanSolstice.
So, everyone who commented, e-mail your address to me at tracey (at) notsuperhuman (dot) com. But, you know, without the parenthesis. I’ll send you each a sticker. And UrbanSolstice, yours will come with a secret poster, too.
Also, before I go, I wanted to share a great find with you. I found these cool posters and figured you’d all love the food-inspired ones.
I’d frame one and hang it in the kitchen. (That is, if I actually hung stuff on my walls. When you move every year, that’s just a waste of time.)
Cute, right? You can pick your background color, too.
(Oh, and for writing- and reading-related ones, check out my writing blog.)
Which is your favorite?
March 4, 2011 14 Comments
photo by thekitchendesigner.org
Don’t even ask if that’s my kitchen. I’ll cry.
Apparently you guys aren’t barefoot running fans. Point taken.
Also, some housekeeping: Apparently Akismet—the widget you use to weed out the spam—thinks I’m a spammer. (Free Viagra!) I’m not sure how that happened, but I’ve been unable to comment on a lot of your blogs recently. (Cialis! Viagra! Buy Free Meds Here!) Here’s all you need to know:
I’m still reading your blogs. And I’m asking Akismet to take me off their hot list of spammers. So don’t think I don’t like you (as if you noticed); think Akismet doesn’t like me.
That is all.
Also BUY PRESCRIPTION MEDS NOW!
Right, not sure why I’m considered a spammer.
On to my most recent obsession. Can you believe I made it to age 28 before I got one of these?
Pathetic or cheap? That’s your call.
We got it at first to make squeezing lemons and limes for recipes that much easier. But then I got to thinking: I love water. I love citrus. I’d love citrus water all the time.
I’ve been cutting a lime in half then leaving it in the press all day. Whenever I fill my water, I squeeze in some lime. It doesn’t help me drink more during the day because I already drink plenty. But it does make the water more fun.
People who suck at getting their eight-a-day (c’mon, fess up) might try this to get more.
And now a confession: I’m beat. I might be getting sick. I might be letting the past week’s burning get to me. Either way, I’m ending this post without giving you much useful advice. For that, I’m sorry.
Let me make that up to you:
Don’t just watch. Turn up the volume. This little pup lets out the most awwwwww-inducing squeals.
So you forgive me, yes? I mean, who can resist a teensy puppy yapping and rolling over and rubbing his eyes? NO ONE, THAT’S WHO.
And with that, I say Happy Weekend. May it be filled with cute baby animals.
What do you think is the hands-down most useful tool in your kitchen?
January 14, 2011 29 Comments
I have two bananas left and some butterscotch sauce, but only the very bottom of a jar of peanut butter. As I mentioned yesterday, using the crumbly peanut butter makes for a lumpy “butterfinger” sauce. So here’s the deal:
You bring the peanut butter, I supply the rest. I’ll even make butterfinger bananas for you. Deal?
So, remember how I told you The Man got an iPad? Remember I said it’s like his second wife that he loves just a little bit more than his first wife and that he takes everywhere with him? Well, one day I stole it and was browsing it because, frankly, it’s awesome. And also I wanted to check out Project magazine, which is the first iPhone-only magazine.
(Side note: As a magazine writer I wanted to check out how they’re transferred to an electronic version. I thought Popular Science did a great job and then I saw Project. Holy interactive, Batman. That magazine is crazy cool and probably requires 2 gazillion employees to produce, including photographers and videographers and tech geniuses whose titles I can’t even name because I have no idea what kind of person is able to do things like make video appear within a pop-out to an article.)
Anyhow, I was browsing the magazine when I came across this:
It’s still in the concept stage, but that, dear readers, is a Dutch product designer’s answer to the barefoot running craze. The foot stickers aim to cover the most sensitive parts of the foot without changing a person’s gait. (No word at this stage how they’ll stick on or hold up to something like, say, trail running.)
What that means: You can run, hike, and do whatever else you want barefoot without getting cuts, scrapes or—if you live in a city—tetanus.* Some of the designs have some traction, so I imagine they’d be a good way to solve the sweaty-feet-on-slippery-yoga-mat problem.
As for the connection to Nike? As far as I can tell, the designer created these as an “independent graduation product” for Nike Europe, whatever that means. Bottom line: No, you cannot buy these**, but it’s cool to think where the barefoot trend may be headed.
You know I wouldn’t wear them (oh feet, how I love thee) but would any of you?
* On second thought, your chances of getting tetanus while wearing these in the city are equivalent to your chances of getting tetanus from jumping in the Hudson.
** But for fun, let’s see how many skimmers*** are ready to purchase.
*** No offense, skimmers. I’m busy, too. But you skim, you lose today.
January 13, 2011 20 Comments
photo from we heart it
Yeah, the challenge is kinda like that.
Just a reminder, if you write a letter to your teen self, let me know. I’m posting all links in the original post (there are some great ones up already), which is now located convenient in the left sidebar.
Also, a story with a point:
Early on in my relationship with The Man (at the time, he was just The Boy), he spent the long weekend at my parents’ house. We’d been seeing each other for two months, during which time I spent a month in Europe then moved to Massachusetts, which is about eight hours from Baltimore, where The Boy lived, on a good day. Since good days never happen on the Jersey Turnpike, the trip was always upwards of 10 hours.
Anyhow. We were doing the whole long-distance thing and racking up minutes on our primitive cell phones, which dropped calls every other minute. It was cute and we’d talk about things like how the nubs on the insides of socks are pretty annoying and the fact that both of us were more or less addicted to Listerine. (Incidentally, this is also the time when we found out neither of us like onions. I’m pretty sure The Boy went ring shopping that day.)
Right, he was visiting my parents’ house, where I was living until I could find a job right out of college.
So there we were in the bathroom. A bottle of Listerine on the counter. Two Dixie cups ready to be filled. The Boy looked at the bartender:
“Hit me.” I poured him a shot then filled my own cup.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” I asked.
The Boy nodded.
“I’m a pro. I won’t think less of you if you back down,” I lied.
“Don’t think I dislike you just because I force you to eat my dust,” he said. I snorted.
We raised our glasses. Tapped them together. Tilted our heads back. The Boy and I drained the cups, slamming the empties on the counter. Green liquid splashed as a cup collapsed.
photo from we heart it
For a minute, I didn’t move. My theory was that the mouthwash would burn less if I didn’t swish. Wrong. I figured swishing just spread the burn. Holding the liquid in place would centralize what burn there was. Wrong.
The fire started in the middle of my tongue. Expanded to my cheeks. Burnt the roof of my mouth. My lips hurt. My teeth ached. I’m pretty sure I blew smoke out of my nostrils when I dared breathe at all.
One look at The Boy and I knew he was struggling, too. His face became red. His eyes bulged. We waved our hands out of sync with one another just to do something other than swish burning mouthwash around our mouths.
One minute in, my tastebuds were gone. Burnt clean off, I thought. It didn’t matter. I knew that if I could swish for just one more second The Boy would give in.
He looked at me.
“Mmmmmwp,” he said. I nodded.
“Mmmne,” I said.
“Mmmoo,” he said.
“Mwwwe,” I said. We spit.
I shut my eyes and panted. I imagined my mouth smoking like a fired gun. My mother walked by and rolled her eyes. I think she mentioned that we were the biggest dorks she’d ever known. I think we ignored her and let out short screams.
My teeth were clean.
That, my friends, is how much I used to love Listerine. So take it from me when I say that Tom’s of Maine’s natural, burn-free mouthwash tastes good and leaves my teeth feeling clean. As you now know, that clean feeling is of utmost importance to me.
In case you were wondering.
Are you a mouthwash person?
January 6, 2011 23 Comments
Does that make anyone else severely depressed? I feel like screaming, “I NEED ONE MORE DAY!!” Two exclamation points. That’s how strongly I feel about it.
The good news: I felt much better this weekend than I have in weeks. I actually helped The Man put away laundry and tidy up the house, which is a huge improvement from me sitting on the couch for six hours while my feet burned.
So what if I feel loopy 87 percent of the time. I think being a space cadet is worth it. (I’ll just pretend I’m blonde.*)
In other news: I made a homemade iced chai tea. It rocked.
I think I’ve made my love for tea pretty clear. (In case you missed it, I did a huge post about tea. I would call it awesome if I didn’t overuse that word. Oh heck, it’s awesome.)
However, I’m not a huge fan of hot chai. Something about the spices in warm water gives me a headache. No joke. I do like iced chai, though. I don’t drink it often. But The Man? The Man would live off iced chai if I let him. (I don’t, because that’s not a well-rounded diet, you know.) When Tipu’s sent me a pack of free instant chai mix, I knew the best taste tester would be The Man.
Tipu’s chai is sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, made without chemicals or preservatives, and comes from organic tea and spices. Whew.
First, I heated up the milk. I microwaved it but the patient among you can do it on the stovetop if you want. Next, I whisked in the packet of chai. I only had a little sleeve of it, so I used the whole thing. I think if you’re using the full-size bag you’ll do a tablespoon or two. (I suggest reading the instructions.)
I set this in the fridge to cool, then poured it into a tall glass with ice. The stuff is unsweetened, so add your own sweetener. I added stevia, which worked well. DO NOT try to drink this without sweetener unless you’re crazy hard core. Trust me on that, OK?
Yes, we do own a plastic Starbucks cup. Don’t judge until you’ve experienced how convenient it is. And also, it doesn’t sweat.
The Man loved it. It’s heavy on the spices (more so than any chai I’ve ever tasted) and almost peppery. Of course, it’s not the same as having a barista mix up a batch in a cup that has your name on it (!!!). But then again, there aren’t many experiences like seeing your name in black marker.
Next time, we’re totally making this chai-tini. Holy yum.
Anyone else a chai fan? How do you drink it: hot, cold, with milk, or straight up?
Oh, and if you do like chai, Tipu’s is having a holiday sale from Dec. 6 to 12, where everything is 15 percent off.
*Just kidding, blondes out there. Seeing as that was a low blow, go ahead and make an Italian joke.
December 6, 2010 23 Comments
I’ve mentioned before that I like to read. If money weren’t an issue, I’d read a few books a week. (I tried that before. Needless to say, I now pace myself to avoid going broke before rent is due.)
That said, I’ve never been much of a fan of health and fitness books. The few I’ve read are snooze-fests full of info I already know. If I’m going to spend time with a nonfiction book, I want a few guarantees:
1. That there will be information I haven’t read in magazines, on blogs, or in news articles on the latest research.
2. That my eyes will not glaze over as the author outlines the difference between fat and carbs and resistance training and cardio and blah, blah, blah. Zzzzz…
3. That I don’t want to punch the author for being annoyingly perfect.
So when Charlotte asked me to read an advanced reader copy of her book, The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything, I was a little worried. I love Charlotte’s blog but I feared her book would take on the typical fitness book tone—boring.
The first thing you should know is that Charlotte’s book is just as hilarious as her blog (and if you haven’t read that yet—go.) And anyone who can make a Princess Bride reference and successfully use the word wussitude in a book about working out has my seal of approval.
The basics: Charlotte spent a year as a lab rat, testing out fitness fads (CrossFit, HIIT, kettlebells, and on and on) and diet plans (going primal then vegan). It’s an awesome overview of different workouts, each with a personal accounts that include smart points like this: the leg extension machine murders you knees. Amen.
But what I loved even more were Charlotte’s personal asides. She takes an honest look at her fight with compulsive overexercising, disordered eating, even an assault that instigated many of these behaviors. It’s at once informational and comical and, between laugh-out-loud jokes, really moving.
So I thought I’d leave it at that, but then I though: There’s a possibility that these guys might not know what I’m talking about when I say the book is conversational and funny in a way other fitness books aren’t. So here are two of my favorite gems, totally unrelated to the point of the book (I’ll leave that for you to read).
“Note to scientists: if [Victoria Beckham] gets any tinier, then she will most likely implode, and you will finally get to study a black hole up close.”
And maybe I appreciate this since I’m a total word nerd, but:
“If I were a real fitness professional, I’d make you wade through pages of randomly BOLDED and CAPITALIZED stuff with lots of extraneous punctuation!!! and hyperbolic promises (You WILL get the RIPPED BODY of your dreams in just 25.2 days by just changing your thought patterns!?!?! Oh, and maybe doing some crack.)
Seriously guys, it’s totally worth a buy. It drops in January but you can preorder it on Amazon now.
October 26, 2010 29 Comments
Hey look, it’s Monday.
Hey look, I’m not moping about, wishing I could rewind to Friday at 5 p.m. In other words:
I’m on vacation.
That’s right. Since I’ve only taken one day off this year and since I have a lot of days left to use before I lose ’em on January 1, 2011, I’m taking a few mini vacations over the next few months.
(If you’re wondering, The Man isn’t as lucky. The poor guy has to work this week. And that’s why I’m really on a staycation—I’ll still be at home.)
Knowing that I was going to be off this week made the weekend even better. I didn’t have any of that Monday dread that usually creeps into my Sunday.
Aside from mass cleaning (which resulted in my most favorite of all favorite clean things: fresh sheets), The Man and I ran a bunch of errands.
That included a failed trip to DSW. Apparently trying to find sandals in October is a silly idea. (Note to Tracey: You’re the only freak who wants strappy open-toed shoes for winter.) I forsee an online project for my week of idleness.
We also made homemade popcorn (and proceeded to eat the entire batch, but that’s another story). It’s ridiculously simple and even The Man—he who considers orange cheese popcorn the height of snacking delicacy—said it’s the best popcorn he’s ever eaten.
Instead of butter, we used ¼ cup olive oil. Then we popped ¾ cup kernels. And finished with sea salt. We shook a cup with Old Bay seasoning for The Man (I think the stuff is gross, a fact that has his Baltimore-based family considering disowning me) and cinnamon and sugar for me. Still, the simple salt and olive oil won out. Stored in an airtight container, it stays crunchy for at least one day. After that … well, you can guess what happened.
Aside from eating my weight in popcorn, I’ve been stuffing my face with dark chocolate–covered goji berries, which I got at Vitamin Shoppe when I was buying smaller vitamin C pills that won’t lodge in my esophagus.
My reasons for gorging are these:
1. Goji berries are healthy.
2. Dark chocolate is healthy.
3. Dark chocolate–coverd goji berries must be healthy times two.
I can make myself believe whatever I want. It’s a skill. So if you are looking for a healthy-healthy snack, I highly recommend these. They taste like extra-chewy Raisinets.
With that, I’m off to stuff more Gojiets in my face. (It’s vacation, after all.)
What’s your favorite healthy (or “healthy”) snack? Ever tried chocolate-covered goji berries? And if you make your own popcorn, what varieties are your favorite? I’m going to say olive oil and sea salt tops my list, but next time I might get crazy and try lime or something.
October 25, 2010 32 Comments