Balance In All Things, Including Peanut Butter

I can’t let National Peanut Butter Lovers Month pass without paying homage to a dietary favorite. I was going to write a poem, but someone else already beat me to it. A wee excerpt:

Oh, sweet legume that grows beneath the earth!
Let me now proclaim your worth!
May my lips your great praise utter
Crunchy, munchy peanut butter
Creamy, dreamy peanut butter.

I do love peanut butter. In fact, let me count the ways:

ways I love peanut butter

That scratches the surface anyway. :)

Given the caloric nature of peanut butter, I don’t eat it with wild abandon. **pause for a moment of sadness** The most common way I eat it is from a measuring spoon–the half-tablespoon or teaspoon, to be precise. At around 3:00 in the afternoon, I sometimes need a “carry-over” until dinner and a little dab of peanut butter will usually do the trick. I said, usually.

Sometimes, especially on big activity days (leaf-raking, gutter-cleaning, bag-hauling, etc.) or long work/travel days, I need more than a dab of PB to fight the hangries. Or more rarely, when I’m OUT of peanut butter completely. quelle horreur! That’s when I turn to something like a PB-flavored Balance Bar to fill the gap.

peanut butter balance bar
Natural health food? No.

Low-calorie? No.

Salty/creamy delicious and satisfying? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Thanks to the nutritional “balance”, a Balance Bar curbs my hunger for a longer period. I enjoy it while I’m eating it, but it doesn’t leave me wanting more-more-more. If you know what I mean. :)

The folks at Balance Bar asked me to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers Month with them, and they sent me a box of Peanut Butter bars to keep the party going. (I was already a fan.) They’re in such a party mood, they offered to send one lucky US reader a box of Peanut Butter Balance Bars of your very own! All you have to do is leave me a comment sharing your very favorite way to eat peanut butter.

I’ll choose the winner by random drawing on Sunday (11/23) night and contact the lucky winner with the good news.

Please note: Balance Bar might have provided the PB Joy-in-a-Box, but opinions are expressly my own. If I didn’t truly like the product, I would say so.

Product Review: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars (+Giveaway)

I have my fingers crossed that you’ll forgive my unexcused absence last week if I give you an opportunity to win some frozen yogurt. Pretty please?

Y’all know how much I love fro-yo, so you can imagine how long it took me to accept an invitation to review the Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars. Yup, as long as it took me to type Y-E-S!

yasso sea salt caramelAccording to the PR, which I have no reason to doubt, Yasso introduced the first frozen Greek yogurt bars to the mass market. That’s a nice bit of history, but this is what piqued my curiosity:

Made with only natural ingredients, including real Greek yogurt, rBST-free milk and natural sweeteners, Yasso is a great low-calorie frozen treat filled with protein and containing little to no fat.

Well, that and the fact that it was fro-yo. :)

Needless to say (except, apparently, to the FTC), Yasso provided me with a free box of yogurt bars for review purposes, which was very nice except Yasso offers 11 flavors of frozen yogurt bars. This created quite the dilemma for this reviewer. Sea Salt Caramel? Mint Chocolate Chip? Peanut Butter Cup? Decisions, decisions…

As it turned out, geography and a sale at Target made my decision for me. My local Kroger had only chocolate and raspberry chocolate flavors. The next-to-closest Kroger had those two flavors and coconut. All fine, but not the flavors I really wanted to try.

Rather than drive all over town, I used the handy “where to buy” feature on Yasso’s website and was able to determine that the Sea Salt Caramel was available at a nearby Target. (A seriously cool search tool–you can search by product and zip code to find specific flavors.)

When I got to Target I discovered that they were having a Yasso sale! Regularly priced at $3.99/box at Target, the sale was 2/$7.00. Y’all know I love a good sale, so I grabbed both the Sea Salt Caramel AND a box of Strawberry bars. (Got that, FTC? One box mine; one box theirs.)

New definition of “eternity”: The hours between a 9:00 a.m. purchase of frozen yogurt bars and a scheduled 7:00 p.m. post-dinner dessert.

Was it worth the wait?

yasso frozen greek yogurt bar sea salt caramel

Oh yes. Definitely, yes. Obviously this is the Sea Salt Caramel flavor. You can tell by the ribbon of salty, sweet caramel-y goodness swirled throughout the creamy rich yogurt. Pure bliss and for only 100 calories. Seriously, whoever created this flavor is a personal hero of mine and deserves riches here on earth and in heaven.

What I especially loved about this bar was that the single bar was filling and satisfying. Some low-cal “dessert treats” just make me want more, but not with this bar. I definitely want more, but not immediately. I’m happy savoring and anticipating. :)

This brings us to the strawberry. I confess, I’m not as enamored of it as the sea salt caramel. It’s good, but it’s more strawberry-ish than full-on strawberry flavor. It would probably be really good on top of some fresh-sliced strawberries, which I think I’ll be trying later this week.

The Yasso bars won’t be a staple in my freezer, but I will definitely buy them again. I would love to try more flavors, but it’s going to be limited to those available in my area. I did just notice a product request form at the bottom of Yasso’s webpage, and my local stores will soon be inundated with requests for the Peanut Butter Cup flavor. For now, I can only hope that some of you will be able to try other flavors and let me know what I’m missing. :)

TWO of you will receive a coupon for a free box of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars! All you have to do to enter is check out the Yasso Products page and let me know which flavor intrigues you most.

Winners will be chosen by random drawing on Wednesday evening (6/18). Sorry, international readers (except spammers), this giveaway is limited to US residents only.

Product Review: Nasoya TofuPlus (Plus Recipes and a Giveaway)

Tofu is one of those foods that I’ve tried a few times but never felt motivated to do anything with it myself. I’ve made smoothies with the silken variety, but I’ve only actually purchased the block-style tofu once. Even then, I never quite built up enough interest to prepare it and ended up giving it to a friend.

Times change, though, and after spotting barbecued tofu listed on a local restaurant’s menu a few months ago, I was intrigued enough to go searching for a recipe I could make at home. I bookmarked Baked Tofu Bites as a possible contender.

And then I filed it away until a couple of weeks ago, when I was contacted to review Nasoya’s TofuPlus! Clearly, the Universe thought it was time I experimented with tofu at home!

The Product
You can read ALL about Nasoya TofuPlus on the company’s website, but the gist of it is right there on their label:

nasoya tofu plus

“Excellent source of vitamins B2, B6, B12, D & Calcium
Good source of protein, cholesterol-free, low in saturated fat”

Works for me! Now, what to do with it…

The Experience and Observations
I kind of knew how to prep tofu for cooking, namely pressing all the water out, but had I not known, Nasoya kindly offers Tofu U with all kinds of tofu information.

makeshift tofu press (2 plates)

Behold, the leaning tower of tofu

After pressing my tofu between two plates for close to an hour (I was busy), I cut about half of it into cubes and marinated them in regular old bottled bbq sauce for almost an hour longer. No, that’s not what was called for in the recipe I linked to above, but as I already mentioned, I was busy. Plus, I didn’t have most of those ingredients.

bbq tofu bites in the oven

Don’t the bbq tofu bites look cute? After baking them at 350° for about 20 minutes on each side, they looked even cuter on my sandwich.

bbq tofu bites sandwich

I didn’t have a wrap or a wheat bun on hand, so I decided to have myself an open-faced bbq snack sammie with a healthy spoonful of pineapple-raisin broccoli slaw.

This was a good little sandwich, but it didn’t really set my hear to fluttering, if you know what I mean. The little bbq tidbits were warm…and kind of chewy. So I popped the leftovers into the fridge, planning to “fix” them somehow the next day. Only, I didn’t have to because when I tasted one straight from the container the next day, I practically swooned. The tofu had apparently needed more melding time with the sauce, or maybe it needed “resting” time after baking, but whatever it was, these bbq bites were fantastic! I snacked on them off and on all weekend. At about 5-10 calories per cube, they were definitely in the right calorie range.

On Sunday night, it was time to address the other half of my block of TofuPlus, which had been waiting in my freezer. (Big surprise!) I decided to make a sort of Tofu Parmigiana, similar to my sort of Chicken Parmigiana. Just press sliced tofu pieces in a mixture of panko, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning mix and brown them in a smidge of oil.

tofu parmigiana

I think a little egg white wash prior to the breading would have helped with crumb adherence, but this was close enough. Especially after I sprinkled some cheese on top. Spicy marinara, creamy tofu in a crispy crust, flavorful cheese–all for around 350 calories. This (sort of) recipe will definitely be making a reappearance on my menu. And soon!

Although I’m not a vegetarian and don’t really have an interest in becoming one, I do enjoy meatless meals now and then. I’m really looking forward to adding more tofu dishes to my meal rotation.Since I don’t like soy sauce or most Asian spices, I’ll do my experimenting in other areas. Tofu chili, tofu tacos, tofu pizza–this could be fun! :)

The Giveaway
Nasoya has offered to give one U.S. reader an opportunity to try TofuPlus for themselves. (Not that you wouldn’t just take my word for it that it’s good stuff.) If you’d like to toss your name into the hat, just say so in the comments. I’ll do the selection on Friday (02/07) and let you know if you’ve won!

Say you do win the TofuPlus…what will you do with it?

FTC: Nasoya provided the product; opinions are a reflection of my own unique and speshul experience.