Saturday, February 28, 2009

LÄRABAR: Key Lime Pie

"Cool, creamy and tangy. Every bite overflows with tropical flavors, just like a slice of real key lime pie."

"Dates, cashews, almonds, unsweetened coconut, lime juice concentrate."

I purchased a Larabar at Winn-Dixie the other day. I was interested in this product because it was no sugar added, vegan and raw. I really like key limes, too.

I was not impressed by the bar's appearance. Quite frankly, it looked like chewed up food to me. The Larabar had a sticky feel and smelled similar to an apple granola bar. Surprisingly, it was quite delicious. There was a definite lime taste. The crunchiness of the nuts and the soft, chewy texture were a tasty contrast. I didn't notice anything "cool and creamy", though.

Taste aside,I have two issues with the Larabar. The first one is the 20 grams of sugar per serving. That's a bit too much for me. The second problem is this:

"Who knew a treasure of the Keys could be so good for you?"
"Dates, cashews, almonds, unsweetened coconut, lime juice concentrate."

There's a huge difference between between key limes vs regular (Persian) limes that just happen to be from the Keys. When's the last time you saw a key lime that big ? I really dislike when companies mislabel their products that way.

Nabisco 100 Calorie: Oreo Mini Cakesters

"Experience the classic taste of Oreo in a soft snack cake – smooth, one-of-a-kind Oreo crème sandwiched between two luscious chocolate cakes."

Yesterday, I received a coupon for a free package of Oreo Mini Cakesters. You know how much I love chocolate cookies! So I headed over to Publix to buy a box.

Each Cakester pack came with three mini cookies. The crème tasted just like the original Oreo filling. The sandwich cookies were rather good, too. They reminded me of devil's food cake. Thumbs up for Oreo Mini Cakesters!

Total Cranberry Crunch

"Lightly sweetened whole wheat flakes, crunchy oat clusters, and real chewy cranberries, just bursting with flavor."

Today I received a sample of Total Cranberry Crunch in the mail. I used to buy the original variety of Total, so I thought I would like this one, too.

- Whole wheat flakes = I enjoyed the crunchy wheat taste. I disliked the strong honey and cinnamon scent.
- Oat clusters = Had too much of a brown sugar flavor
- Real chewy cranberries = The cranberries were plump and juicy. However, those had the honey and brown sugar smell, too.

I was a bit puzzled why I kept tasting brown sugar, honey and cinnamon in a cranberry cereal. The ingredient list mentioned brown sugar, honey, brown sugar molasses, brown sugar syrup and cinnamon as sweeteners. Is it any wonder there's 16 grams of sugar in a 1 1/4 cup serving ?

With a high sugar content and a terrible taste, it's a thumbs down for Total Cranberry Crunch. Skip this cereal and have a bowl of fresh fruit instead.

Brie Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Brie Stuffed Chicken Breasts

"Brie cheese, apples, onions, and thyme are stuffed under the skin of chicken breasts and then baked for a deliciously different departure from bland poultry."

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup apple cider
4 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into chunks
4 chicken breast halves (2 pounds total)

Megan's notes: I substituted chopped, frozen cherries for the apples and garlic for the onion. I added in gorgonzola cheese and sun dried tomatoes. Next time I will brush the chicken with butter, as it came out paler than I'd planned.

Heat oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until very tender, about 8 minutes. Add apples, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 cup cider; cook until apple is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in Brie cheese. Divide stuffing into 4 equal portions.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Run fingers under chicken breast skin to separate from flesh. Dividing equally, insert stuffing under skin of each breast half. Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.

Bake in heated 400-degree F. oven 35 minutes or until internal temperature registers 170 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer. Remove chicken to a platter; keep warm.

Skim fat from baking dish. Scrape drippings into a small saucepan. Add remaining 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook over medium heat to reduce by half. Spoon over chicken.

Yield: 4 servings

Sources: and Family Circle All-Time Favorite Recipes, by the editors of Family Circle Magazine

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dairy Queen's Sweet Deals

Confession time: I love eating at Dairy Queen. My favorite way to spend the day is a trip to the local used book store, followed by crossing the road to Dairy Queen to eat their chicken strips and read my books.

So of course I was excited to hear about Dairy Queen's Sweet Deals. It's a choice of several yummy meal pairs at 2 for $3, 3 for $4 or 4 for $5:

"Menu items include the famous Dairy Queen® cheeseburger, classic all-beef hot dog, new chicken wrap, yummy French fries, crispy onion rings, fresh salad, beverage and an irresistible sundae or cone made with the signature DQ soft serve with the curl on top."

I would go into Deal or No Deal mode for a Dairy Queen Sweet Deal. I could be persuaded to perform my famous "Yay, it's a DQ day!" dance in exchange for a tasty meal deal (What ? I like dancing and I like good food). If I won a Sweet Deal, my friends and I would show up in our giant ice cream hats (Yes, I have one. Please don't ask). After treating my friends to a delicious lunch,we'd gladly stand in front of DQ handing out coupons to other customers. So let's make a Sweet Deal, Dairy Queen. See you again soon, at my usual table!