Taste Test Tuesday: WW Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Welcome back to another Taste Test Tuesday! Today, I am taste testing a WW inspired recipe I found quite by accident.

I had this rather large can of pureed pumpkin in my cupboard. I don’t even know why I bought it, as I don’t even know if I like pumpkin. I am a texture kind of eater and I could never convince myself to try pumpkin pie. So, it has been sitting in my cupboard and was close to expiring. I needed to try to figure out something I could do with it. Then I remembered I posted a video about making homemade protein bars that used pumpkin puree. Protein bars are convenient, but again the texture thing. I just can’t find one I really like enough to pay that ridiculous price. Every one I have tried I end up giving them all to my DIL. So technically, I am not wasting them. While browsing Pinterest one night, it’s like Pinterest reads my mind, a recipe for 2 point muffins popped up. It was a WW recipe and I was stunned to find out that the 2 points was for one little dinky miniature muffin. How disappointing! But, I decided to try them anyways, and using my Healthi app, previously itrackbites, I figured my miniature muffins to be 1 point a piece. I used a different brand of the one item, and I don’t know if that is why, but when you figure it up and weigh each muffin on a scale, they are one point each. Even, if you made these into a full size muffin, they are going to be less than a store bought muffin. There is no milk, oil, butter, or eggs in this recipe.

Plus, these were amazing! I mean amazing! So delicious, super moist, and my husband loved them. You are not adding any sugar, either.

Simply buy a spice cake mix, from whatever brand you like. I did Duncan Hines, because they were buy one get one free. I already had a 29 ounce can of pumpkin puree, and I only used half of it. So, one cake mix, and 15 ounces of pumpkin puree is what you need. Mix it all together. It will be very thick. Spray your mini muffin tins with some non-stick spray. You don’t need much. I put about 1 1/2 tsp in each muffin space. I baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and let them cool on a rack on the counter. These are dense, but light. You can sprinkle a little brown sugar on them, and they are even more awesome. If you have a sweet tooth, try these muffins.

I have one more box, and a half can of pumpkin puree. So, next week I will try to make a homemade protein bar. Be sure to come back and see how they come out.

This spice cake mix is pretty high in fat. It also has phosphorus additives to keep it fresh on a shelf for a long time. To decrease the fat, and phosphorus, you could make your own spice cake dry mix. I might try that too, as I see myself making these often. They are great for breakfast, or an easy snack in my lunch bag.

For figuring out a Itrackbites serving size. I took the total amount of the mixture and multiplied it by .10, that will give you 3.10 ounces per serving, or 5 bites, which as you can see on my scale is 5 mini muffins. Now, I do weigh them each time, because some are a little bigger than others. The pumpkin puree is zero points on the free plan I have. Be sure and scan yours to be sure you get the most accurate point value.

Tomorrow, on Wednesday, I usually do my Kidney Coach class. I would be doing week 14, however I found out they have updated the course and I need to take it again to get the new information. I will most likely have to go back and edit the older slides, so stay tuned for that. I hope to get it done this week, or next. This week is kind of hectic for me, so it might be next week. Please feel free to still ask me questions on the first 13 weeks content.

Disclaimer

True Story!

Hello, and welcome to another Taste Test Tuesday! Wait, I thought this was a true story. Well, it is, sort of.

A few weeks ago, I think they came from Aldi’s, but I might have gotten them at Misfit’s Market, I bought these sweet Italian chicken sausages, from the brand True Story. Now, I have tried chicken sausages before, and no one in my family liked them, and honestly, they didn’t have a lot of flavors so there wasn’t much to love.

But, these sweet Italian chicken sausages from True Story were amazing! They look really skinny, and if you didn’t give them a chance you would be missing out. I was really impressed, and my husband even liked them and he is fussy about sausage. They are organic and with good ingredients. However, like any kind of sausage, they are still quite high in sodium and fat. But, they are still better than other sausages. We had them with spaghetti sauce, over pasta. I cooked them on the side just in case no one liked them. But, they were a hit. They are a little expensive too, but honestly worth it.

This is not a paid post, and if you follow here you know I try to do a Taste Test Tuesday every week. Since I have CKD I try to find organic, or preservative-free foods to try, as those are my preference. They have tons of other items too, so be sure and visit the True Story website where you can order them. I don’t think I have seen these in stores. I am almost positive I ordered them from Misfit’s Market and the price was reasonable. I would definitely buy these again.

I am using Itrackbytes now called the Healthi app and one link is 3 bytes.

You can see the ingredient list, and nutritional info, by clicking here.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried these, or if you will try them. What did you think of them?

Disclaimer

Follow and like this blog to keep updated on all of my new posts. I have lots of great posts in the archives too.

Taste Test Tuesday: Quest Pizza!

Hello, and welcome back my awesome readers to one of my topics that readers seem to love, Taste Test Tuesday. With my new job and all that goes with that, I had forgotten I wanted to repeat this series every week. But, if you read my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge post yesterday, then you knew I was going to talk about this today. I will tell you at the end of the post why I ultimately chose Quest Pizza.

This Quest pizza and this is the link to the item with the ingredient and nutrition info, is quite expensive. For 2 servings it was $7.48. With that said if your family loves pizza, and maybe you are on a weight loss journey, this could be a good option for you. I didn’t even know Quest made pizzas, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them at Walmart Sunday. I like the Quest tortilla chips, and some of their protein bars, but not all. I am fussy about protein bars, anyway, so it isn’t a flaw in the Quest product. I was looking for a healthier option pizza, for both CKD and weight loss. I could not find any WW pizzas, so I opted for one of these. Before I get to the nutrition of this Quest pizza, and no I did not look at it first, except for the fiber and carb count, I want to talk about texture and taste. I am a huge texture eater. If the texture is odd, chances are I am not going to like it, or even eat it. I chose a thin crust Quest pizza, and I fully expected the crust to come out crispy. Not only is this crust not very thin, but it also does not come out crispy after baking. So, I threw it into the air fryer for 5 more minutes. The only thing that got crispy was the toppings. I was a little disappointed by the crust, but not enough not to eat it. The cheese I am not so sure about either, but it didn’t taste bad or have a strange texture. As far as taste goes, it was overall fairly bland. I am funny about pizza sauce and this one was OK. I think if I buy it again, and actually I still have half of it left, I will sprinkle on some garlic powder. Would I buy this again? Maybe.

Now as far as nutrition goes, and now I am speaking in relation to my CKD, this is probably not a great choice. Why? I threw away my box, and I can’t really make out the ingredients on the box online, but the list is fairly long. That means it probably has additives I would normally opt to avoid. Remember, there are only 4 slices to this pizza, and 2 slices are a serving size. It is very high in fat, sodium, calcium, and protein. In this regard, this is not a healthy option for CKD as most pre-packaged foods are not. Plus, I can not account for how much phosphorus is in it, but I can assume it is pretty high. It is high in fiber, and low in carbs, and I was not hungry after I ate 2 slices. This was definitely a spur-of-the-moment buy for me. I would have been much better off using one of my Wellness wraps, a little marinara sauce, low-fat mozzarella cheese, and making my own little pizza.

So, why did I choose this particular pizza? I have not discussed weight loss at all much this year, and that is on purpose. But, I recently started following Itrackbites. It has a different name now, but I am finally coming off of my plateau and seeing results. It is similar to WW in that you get assigned a set number of points and each food item has a point value, and some are zero points, but not like WW. Anyway, I knew we would have pizza on Sunday for a quick and easy dinner. I also knew the pizza my family likes is like 13 points per slice, so I was hoping for an alternative. For the 2 slices of the Quest pizza, it was 10 points and was a much better fit for that day. That is why I chose the Quest pizza, and because I was intrigued by how it would taste.

This is not a paid post, as none of my posts are. This is my thoughts and my journey. If you would like help in your health journey email me for a free consultation.

Disclaimer

Living With CKD Pantry Food Challenge

So, if you read my post yesterday then you know I have two challenges for the whole year in 2022. The budget challenge is to save extra money, and you know what my phone died last night and I had to get a new one. So, isn’t that interesting!

Anyway, I will try to post most days what I ate from my pantry in our meal plan for the week. The days that I can’t get on, will all be posted on Monday. The week runs from Monday to Sunday. I will give generals for breakfast because we all eat something different. So, mostly I will share what I ate for those two meals.

So, for the budget challenge for this week, I have 63 dollars per week to spend. I figured I pretty much had everything I need for the week but then I decided to make my own hamburger buns for some sloppy joes. I don’t have enough flour. So, tomorrow I will be picking up some all-purpose flour from Walmart. Their 5-pound bag of Organic All-Purpose Flour is $3.98. This means for the week ending 1/16/2022 I have a remaining balance of $59.02. I could have gotten a cheaper bag, and at some point in this challenge I may have to, but as long as I can get organic I will. This is the perfect time of year to make my own bread because it is cool outside. I think I shared what I ate yesterday if not submarine sandwiches and the only thing from the pantry was condiments and pretzels. We already had the sub rolls and lunch meat on hand. I ate organic turkey breast from Misfits Market. It is delicious but not cheap.

Today, this is what I have and or will eat.

Breakfast: egg casserole. This was leftover from last week and needed to be eaten up.

Lunch: Fresh green salad. I had all of the supplies on hand. From my pantry, I used croutons that need to be used up, salad dressing, and we had some Star Wars chicken nuggets in the freezer. Freezer items count as pantry items in this challenge. You can see the food labels below. These are not the healthiest for someone with CKD so be sure and eat only a portion which is 4 nuggets. I just break them up and put them on my salad.

Note: With the egg casserole that has cheese in it, and the chicken nuggets I am already at my protein limit that I like to be at for the day. So, my meat portion for dinner will have to be even less. Plus, the nuggets were quite high in sodium.

Dinner: Pork loin chops from my freezer, canned organic green beans, and I think I will make some red potatoes in the air fryer. I do not love my air fryer at all, but I think I am finally getting the hang of it and learning to at least like it. My Instapot and my Crockpot both died in 2021 and I have not replaced them yet. All of the food items for this dinner we already had on hand. I don’t have the label for the pork loin. I bought it at Sam’s in a huge log and then we cut it into serving-size pork chops. I can get at least 5 meals out of this one large loin. Extra-lean pork loin is OK for CKD in 3 to 4 ounce serving size. If Phosphorus is a concern for you, you can parboil it for about 5 minutes to decrease the phosphorus in the meat. Potatoes are high in potassium, so soak or parboil them as well prior to putting them in the air fryer. From my spice cabinet, I can add Rosemary, and Paprika to add tons of flavor to the potatoes. If salt and pepper are all you have, then use them, just be light on the salt shaker. I do encourage you to build up your spice cabinet. They add tons of flavor without added salt, most of the time, read the labels.

That’s it for today. Have a great day! Leave me your thoughts in the comments. Note the expiration date on the organic green beans. Not all organic foods go to waste faster. Please remember all CKD patients are different. If your doctor has told you not to eat any of the foods I share then don’t eat them.

Disclaimer

Some Different Takes On Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole, you either love it or hate it! At my house, it really is not a hit, though my husband asks me to make it every single year for nostalgia I think. It stays in the fridge for what seems forever, and I don’t think it is the healthiest dish to eat.

However, I found some variations on the traditional dinner side, leaning towards a Mediterranean-type dish. If you have been following along this month, and next, I am talking about Dementia. The foods we eat may increase the risk of Dementia. The Mediterranean Diet may help prevent Dementia.

One thing I found interesting is that there is a Greek Olive Oil. I mean it makes sense, but I have never seen it in stores near me. But, apparently, it has some differences from Italian or Spanish olive oil.

I also do not care for Feta cheese, though it is very popular in Mediterranean dishes. I will use Ricotta or Part-Skim Mozzarella.

I think I will make a small green bean casserole for nostalgia reasons, and then one of the other variations. I like fresh green beans, but frozen would be ok for me too. This is the first year in a very long time that I don’t have to work the day after Thanksgiving. So, I can relax and just enjoy the day.

Check out this variation. I think I would just use low-fat milk as I don’t think coconut milk would work for everyone else. I also would leave off the bacon, and use one of the cheese options I mentioned above.

This one has Parmesan cheese in it, and I could totally do a fresh lower fat Parmesan cheese. This recipe also calls for organic ingredients, but if you can not afford them, then just buy what you can afford with the lowest sodium amounts.

Most of the others are a variation of the dish in the video below which is a traditional Greek dish.

Let me know in the comments if your family loves or hates the traditional Green Bean Casserole.

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
https://www.redbubble.com/i/floor-pillow/Merry-Meowmas-by-Missy69/27075858.TMTL5?asc=u&epik=dj0yJnU9S0hwUkcyTGg5Rmc1b1FBWGVyMHBUNmhjT2FudWg5THYmcD0wJm49U1R0ajMzeEtHSVp4TmliNDRfeUhjdyZ0PUFBQUFBR0dVUkJ3

Taste Test Tuesday: Family Cook Off Week 1

Last week I announced that my husband, daughter, and I were going to start a family cook off even each Monday. Yesterday, was our first cook off, and I was the judge. We need to come up with a prize, but we didn’t decide that yet.

So, for this week I got to pick the theme, and I picked a Fall Casserole. My daughter, who is 17 picked a Keto casserole, and my husband chose a classic. I forgot to take pictures, but below you can see the results of my judging. Next week my husband gets to pick the theme and be the judge. Even though my daughter decided she didn’t want to judge, just compete, she is going to pick themes every 3rd week. I am not sure how long we will keep this up, but we had fun doing it, and it is a great way to have some family fun!

I did a ton of meal prep last week, so now this week I can just relax a little for dinner. I don’t usually do large meal preps, but actually I found it quite rewarding. I now have 8 dinners prepped in the freezer and ready to go when I want them. I will post more on that in a future post.

Husband’s Meal: I don’t know the actual name of this casserole but I have seen versions of it on Pinterest. His ingredients were: tater tots, ground beef, cheddar cheese, Manwich, and Fritos. When he told me his choice I asked him if he could make his own Sloppy Joe sauce homemade, as he is a very good cook and I was pretty sure there would be High Fructose Corn Syrup in the Manwich. He opted not to do that, and took the easy way. I deducted points for that. Being he is a good cook, and knowing I do not care to eat the canned version I felt he was being unhealthy on purpose. He had good presentation, and this casserole was huge and will feed us for several days. So, from an economic perspective he gained some points. He also did not use a recipe. Again, he got some added points. It had really good flavor, but it was extremely dry. I suggested maybe less tater tots next time. His was also quite salty, most likely from the cheese and Manwich. There is no vegetables anywhere in this casserole.

Daughter’s Meal: She chose a Keto Chicken Fresca type recipe. I am not sure she realized it was Keto, because she doesn’t really care about Keto. So, I took away some points for not choosing a recipe that would be good for the whole family. She does not care for chicken, so she wanted to substitute for another meat. I already knew what my husband was making, so I suggested she not pick ground beef. So, she picked beef tips, or stew meat. She also didn’t want to make the homemade salsa, as she does not like fresh Cilantro, and I agree with her on that, as it tastes like dishwater to me. Her dish was very fast, and easy to make. The most time consuming part was sauteeing the meat slightly, with the chopped onions, prior to baking. Her ingredients were: beef tips, medium salsa, 1/2 of a chopped onion, a little cumin, chopped bell pepper, some of my homemade Basil herbed salt, and chili pepper flakes. Oh, and part skim Mozzarella cheese. The presentation of her dish was not great. She used way too much salsa, and it made the dish look very wet and sloppy. However, this dish had much better flavor, and it was tender and delicious. She was creative in her food pairings, and substitutes. It had great flavor without being salty.

The winner was my daughter. She put some thought into hers, and had a pretty well rounded dish. I would have preferred she added some rice, or something to it, to make it more of a balanced meal. My husband’s was dry, and hers was wet, but after taste testing was done, I just mixed them together and it was delicious!

Next week I will remember to take pictures.

From a CKD standpoint, the casserole with the fresh ingredients is always going to be best. Because I do the grocery shopping I was able to pick the products. There was nothing I could do to substitute Fritos, or Manwich, but I was able to buy grass fed organic beef, and organic salsa. I don’t think I remembered to buy organic cheese, but I did buy light cheese where I could. The Manwich and the Fritos are very high in Sodium, and as I stated the Manwich as High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. The Fritos might too, I didn’t check that. This did have a ton of protein in it, so I have to be mindful of serving sizes. I do not have an issue with Potassium, so the salsa is not an issue. As for phosphorus processed foods are going to have a lot of it, and the body absorbs 100 percent of it. That is why I prefer organic when possible, because it does not usually have phosphorus additives in it. Once in a while I find one, though, so always read the labels.

If you are living with a Chronic Disease, and you would like to help your family understand your food limits, try a family cook off. Let them learn how to cook for you, instead of you cooking for everyone else, and you. People learn by doing, and their perspective might change if they actually have to be in it.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter. My next one goes out next Wednesday.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Taste Test Tuesday: Trader Joe’s Italian Meatballs

Whoa a new featured topic! I think it is fun to share the perspective of different tastes for different food items. So, I am starting a Taste Test Tuesday topic. I don’t know if every Tuesday will be this topic, because I have others for Tuesdays, but if it is really popular I will just do it.

If you read here you know I love Trader Joe’s. I also don’t get to shop their often because it is not close to me. We had never tried the meatballs, but in the Summer having something quick and easy is nice. So, I bought the Italian Style Meatballs. I am going to say right off the bat I wish I had read the ingredients better, see below. There is soy in these meatballs, way at the bottom of the list, but still, and it is probably why I have GI upset today. I don’t tolerate soy well. On the other hand, my husband will usually not eat meat with soy in it, but he didn’t even notice, and he loved these meatballs!

Me: I thought they had great flavor, were a good size, and overall were quite good. I did not care for the texture, however. They were affordable and convenient. There was way too much fat, however, and I think in the future I will just freeze some of our homemade meatballs for the summer months. They also have quite a bit of sodium in them for a serving size of 2 meatballs, that are really not that large.

Husband: Liked them a lot, and ate the rest for lunch as a meatball sub. Trust me when I say that is a good thing. He had no complaints or issues.

My daughter did not try them this time around.

Would I buy them again? Absolutely! I just wouldn’t eat them. They are great for when I work and the hubby, and daughter can make a quick easy meal.

There are about 6 servings in the bag, and if I remember correctly they were right around 5 dollars. Do you need help meal planning, or following a diet? Check out Meals with Melissa.

Have you tried these? What do you think?

Disclaimer

Sign up for my newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.