Category Archives: Product Review

Use Prepared Mix to Make a Fiesta Scramble Breakfast Bowl

Mann's Nourish Bowl

I noticed this newish product in my grocery store among the prepared salad ingredients and bowls of cut fruit. I’d seen Mann’s Nourish Bowls on their web site when I was checking on what other prepared fresh vegetables they had. The Nourish Bowls are a complete meal for one that you may have to add an ingredient or two to complete. In this case, this was the Breakfast Fiesta Scramble bowl.

According to the instructions on the package, you just add two beaten eggs, pour in the included packet of sauce with chicken chorizo, and put it in your microwave for two or three minutes to cook. Add the small package of grated cheese on top and viola! You have breakfast. Well, I couldn’t let it sit at that since I prefer cooking my eggs in a skillet — not that I haven’t used the microwave. But in this case, I think all the fresh ingredients gained from cooking on the stove top. I did add a little extra cheese as the package has maybe a quarter of a cup. I also added two more eggs to make a total of four to serve two people. Honestly, they’ve packed enough veggies into this bowl to easily feed two and possibly three people unless you’re super hungry.

What kind of veggies, you may be asking? Good, low-carb ones. It includes cauliflower, kohlrabi, butternut squash, and kale. The packet also includes the sauce with chicken chorizo, (trust me, not a lot of it. In fact, I couldn’t really distinguish it in the sauce) and the packet of cheddar-jack cheese. You could make your own mix by chopping up equal parts of the same vegetables, but this is really convenient.

So, below are the directions to make the basic Fiesta Scramble Bowl using four eggs to serve two people. Below that are two possible variations to add more meat and flavor to the basic bowl. To be frank, I think there’s enough for two servings easily, and it wouldn’t be hard to eke out a third serving, which in turn keeps the carbs lower.

After this recipe, I’ve added two possible variations on the basic recipe that will bring more and different flavors to the bowls.

Image: Fiesta Breakfast Scramble

Fiesta Scramble Bowl

1 package Mann’s Nourish Bowls Breakfast Fiesta Scramble
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon Butter

Add butter to a large skillet and melt. Stir in the vegetables from the Fiesta Scramble package and stir fry for about 5 minutes to soften the veggies. Check to make sure that the butternut cubes are almost tender. If not, stir fry a little longer.

In the meantime, break four eggs and add pepper then whisk in preparation.

When the veggies are softened, add the packet of sauce with the chorizo chicken in it. Stir it in well and rinse the package in about two tablespoons of water, then add it to the skillet. Stir until the sauce is mixed evenly.

Add the whisked eggs and stir to scramble them into the veggies. Cook and stir until the eggs are firm. Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese on top.

Makes two servings.

Image: Nutrition Info - Basic Bowl

Variation #1 – Mexican Fiesta Bowl

1 package Mann’s Nourish Bowls Breakfast Fiesta Scramble
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon Butter
1 Chorizo sausage
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 cup Onions, chopped
1/4 cup Cheddar Jack Cheese

In a large skillet, add the ground chorizo sausage or cut the sausage into thin slices and put in the pan. Cook and stir for a few minutes to get the chorizo done. Remove to a plate while you add the chopped onions and saute them for a couple of minutes, then add the vegetables from the Nourish Bowl packet. Cook and stir for about 5 to 8 minutes to mostly cook the veggies.

Add the chorizo back to the pan, then add the sauce from the kit. Stir to combine with the vegetables. rinse the package in about two tablespoons of water, then add it to the skillet. Stir until the sauce is mixed evenly.

Add the whisked eggs and stir to scramble them into the veggies. Cook and stir until the eggs are firm. Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese on top.

Makes two to three servings.

Image: Nutrition Info Mexican Bowl

Variation #2 – Italian Breakfast Bowl

1 package Mann’s Nourish Bowls Breakfast Fiesta Scramble
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup Tomatoes, diced
3 slices Bacon, cooked & broken into pieces
1/3 cup Mozzarella Cheese

Don’t use the cheese included in the kit.

Cook the bacon and break it into pieces. Cut up the tomato into small cubes.

Add butter to a large skillet and melt. Stir in the vegetables from the Fiesta Scramble package and stir fry for about 5 to 8 minutes to soften the veggies. Check to make sure that the butternut cubes are almost tender. If not, stir fry a little longer.

In the meantime, break four eggs and add pepper then whisk in preparation to cook.

When the veggies are softened, add the packet of sauce with the chorizo chicken in it, the bacon, and the tomatoes. Stir it in well and rinse the package in about two tablespoons of water, then add it to the skillet. Stir until the sauce is mixed evenly.

Add the whisked eggs and stir to scramble them into the veggies. Cook and stir until the eggs are firm. Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese on top.

Makes two to three servings.

Image: Nutrition Info: Italian Style Bowl

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Done 2 Ways, and a Product Review

 

A 48 ounce tub of Breyers CarbSmart Vanilla front of packLast week, I wrote about my quest to find some low carb ice creams other than CarbSmart, which our local grocery stores carry only in vanilla, even through three other flavors are available (chocolate, peanut butter, and smooth mint). When I asked one of our local stores to please carry other flavors, not just of CarbSmart but of other brands, I was told I could order a case, but they don’t have room on their shelves for many choices.

But I digress. I found other lower carb options at three of our local stores and sampled a couple of more.

Halo Top frozen dessert is probably the lowest carb ice cream ProductImage_WEB-MintChip-190620asubstitute on the market with most of their flavors coming in around 1 net carb. I tried their mint chocolate chip, which was very good although being sugar-free means it is harder than ice cream and needs to thaw for about 5 to 10 minutes before you can scoop it out. I’ve opened two of their cartons and both had a frozen lump of the product with lots of space around it within the container. They are supposed to hold two cups but I don’t think they do. Two of my ice cream scoops equal 1/2 cup and the mint had three servings in it. Halo Top comes in 26 different flavors sold in pint cartons. Of course, my  trio of grocery stores had about six different flavors between them. I would give this a rating of 4 stars. It tastes good, no after taste, but it isn’t as creamy as CarbSmart, and it seems a little shy on the stated quantity.

The other one I tried is Enlightened Frozen Desserts. This is a really good diary-free ice cream substitute, but it also contains more sugar than the others, so it comes in around 8 to 10 net carbs per serving. If you have enough carbs to spare, then this is a terrific option. I tried their Salted Caramel bars and their Chocolate Mint Swirl bars, and they are delicious. You don’t miss the cream in these at all, and there is no aftertaste. They make an amazing 32 different flavors and are available at a reasonable price in pint cartoons. Again, our local stores stock a few of their flavors. I give this one a 5-star rating, right up there with CarbSmart, except for the higher carb count.

So, if you are on a quest for ice cream substitutes, you might try one of these options. If you can get CarbSmart, it is made with cream, and delicious with only 4 net carbs per half cup.

How About a Recipe?

Now, since I haven’t posted a recipe in the past two weeks, here’s one that comes from a keto site for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bombs. This is an almond flour dough that is eaten uncooked, so it is like eating cookie dough, sort of. The almond flour leaves it a little grainy, and it doesn’t taste totally like cookie dough to me. On the plus side, the flavor is pretty good, and one fat bomb makes a satisfying quick treat that boosts your carb burner with the fat content.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bombs

Photo: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bombs

The recipe is simple and is pretty much exactly as it is on the keto site I borrowed it from, except I rephrased it a bit. For one thing, the ingredients don’t have to be termed keto-friendly. Most of the sugar-free are. I used Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chips. I also used Splenda granulated which is almost fine enough to be confectioner’s sugar, but if you want to take it to a powder, you can do it in your blender.

1 stick Butter, softened
1/3 cup Confectioners Sugar Substitute
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
2 cups Almond Flour
2/3 cup Sugar-Free Chocolate chips

In a large bowl, add softened butter and beat until it is light and fluffy. Add in the sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat until mixed into the butter.

Add the almond flour, a little at a time, and mix until it is completely moistened. You may have to finish it off by hand. My mixer balked before the flour was completely mixed in. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate for about twenty minutes.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper or waxed paper. Use a 1/2 tablespoon measure or a cookie scoop to form the dough into half-balls, flat on the bottom, and place on the paper. Put them in the refrigerator for another twenty minutes to firm the balls up, then put in a plastic bag and store in the ‘fridge until you are ready to snack on one. They will keep for about a week or you can freeze them for up to a month.

Makes about 36 balls.

Nutrition Info: ChocChip Fat Bombs

Make Those Bombs Cookies

Image: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now, as I mentioned, I wasn’t too enthused with these as a raw dough ball, so I decided to turn them into cookies. It’s an easy change, and I even added the egg after the rest was mixed. Ideally, if you’ve decided to make cookies, you’ll mix the egg in with the sugar and vanilla. These cookies are about the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve made. They are firm, yet soft in the middle and have a wonderful flavor. I had expected them to spread on the pan, so I only patted them down a little, but they held up through the cooking. If you want yours a little flatter, then press them down to the size you want.

1 stick Butter, softened
1/3 cup Confectioners sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt
2 cup Almond Flour
2/3 cup Sugar-Free Chocolate chips
1/4 cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts (optional)

Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add softened butter and beat until it is light and fluffy. Add in the sugar, salt, egg, and vanilla and beat until mixed into the butter.

Add the almond flour, a little at a time, and mix until it is completely moistened.  Stir in the chocolate chips. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate for about twenty minutes.

Use a one-tablespoon measure or cookie scoop to form the dough into half-balls, flatten on the bottom, and place on the paper, allowing 2 inches between cookies. Press down slightly to spread the dough. Place in the refrigerator for another twenty minutes to firm up.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on top. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes or more. Almond flour is delicate and will break if you try to move the cookies while they are still hot.

Once they cool, enjoy or you can store in a plastic bag for a few days. Makes 18 delectable cookies.

Nutrition Info: ChocChip Cookies

If you try these products or these recipes, please leave me a message. I’d like to know how you like them or if you disagree with my opinion. Everybody’s taste buds are different.

Product Review: Wink Frozen Desserts

For almost ten years, my main choice for an ice cream-like dessert has been CarbSmart from Breyers Ice Cream. Unfortunately, my local grocers only stock vanilla and the chocolate covered ice cream bars although Breyers makes a chocolate and a peanut butter ice cream as well. And they make a frozen mint  bar. I must work on persuading our grocers to stock them.

On a search for information about other low-carb, sugar-free ice cream alternatives, I found several, one of which was Wink Frozen Dessertstm that offered frozen treats so low in carbs that they seemed like a miracle. Made from plant products and completely natural, they sounded like a dream come true. And the choices were amazing. Wink had all the usual flavors plus strawberry cheesecake, pumpkin spice latte, and S’mores. In my enthusiasm and desire to try a few to review, I ordered seven varieties. The price per pint was about the same as buying an equivalent amount of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. Unfortunately, the similarities end there.

When the package arrived, beautifully packed with dry ice and a plant-based dissolvable sponge-like packing around the frozen pints, I popped them into the freezer and that night, PK and I had a scoop of the strawberry cheesecake. Saying it was disappointing is an understatement. The taste was bland, the dessert somewhat like a sorbet and lacking completely in strawberry or cream cheese flavor. In fact, I can’t even say what kind of flavor it had.

What was evident was the bitter aftertaste that followed each spoonful. The principal sweeteners used are Stevia and monk fruit. I have tried other things sweetened with monk fruit and haven’t experienced any bitterness. On the other hand, I am not a big fan of Stevia for precisely the reason that I can usually detect a bit of bitterness from it. This exceeded any I had experienced before and was even so pronounced that Sweet ‘n Low, which I had thought was the worst until now, was eclipsed by it.

After tasting this, I went back to my computer to look for reviews on Wink’s product. Sadly, I found that the vast majority of reviews were very negative, usually one to two stars for precisely those reasons. Lack of flavor and bitter aftertaste.

At this point, I still have six untried pints of this frozen dessert in my freezer, but I haven’t been eager to try another one. Even if the flavoring pops in the Pumpkin Spice Latte, the aftertaste from the sweetener is likely to be the same.

Now, if you don’t notice any bitterness from Stevia or your taste buds read it differently, then you might enjoy this product. I can’t personally recommend it, but a few reviews did declare it excellent. I would advise that you don’t order more than the minimum order of 4 pints until you decide for yourself. These are sold in many groceries across the country, so you might find one locally to buy one pint to try. A store locator is on the Wink website.

If you try it, let me know how it tasted to you.

Product Review: DCC Cinnamon Swirl Snacking Cake

Photo: Happy Thanksgiving

November is always a busy month for me because it is time for NaNoWriMo, which means I spend several hours a day working on a novel. In addition, I am also a municipal liaison, meaning I am trying to coordinate activities for other writers in the area. Bottom line is my cooking time is reduced to quick and easy things to make, which are mostly what I have already posted.

However, I also had a chance to try out another of Dixie Diner’s mixes. In this case, it was their Cinnamon Swirl Snacking Cake. The mix is not totally inclusive as you do need to add four eggs, one-half stick of butter and water to it. It does include the flour pouch and the cinnamon filling bag. The mix is simple, just add melted butter, eggs, and water and stir until it is completely mixed. Then add more butter and water to the cinnamon mix, drop it on top in clumps, and swirl it into the batter. Easy. Then bake.

Photo: DCC Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

First, I added vanilla to the cake mix. It seemed to want some additional flavor, and in retrospect, I should have added some sweetener as the cake is not very sweet at all.

The snacking cake bakes up well, but I found it a little dry and thick. Oddly, with all that butter and eggs, you would expect it to be more moist. It did taste okay, but I’ve eaten better ones. I added a sugar-free powdered sugar icing with a touch of vanilla added that helped. But I warm it up to serve and still add more butter.

On the plus side, the cake makes 9 large slices with only 2 net carbs per slice. That’s hard to beat and it is satisfying.

If I were to make it again, I would add more vanilla and sugar substitute to the cake batter and possibly put chopped nuts on top before baking.

So, I rate this a four cooking spoons out of five for flavor. It’s not bad, but I can make better low carb ones from scratch.

Photo: Snacking cake slice
A slice of the Dixie Carb Counters Cinnamon Swirl Snacking Cake.

If you’d like to try it, you can purchase the mix from Dixie Diner or from Netrition.com.

Here are a few Thanksgiving recipe links if you’re looking for a few  coffee cakes, sides or desserts:

Amazingly Scrumptious Cranberry Almond Coffee Cake

Biscuit Based Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Warm Up Your Meal with Pumpkin Soup

Smashed Turnips with Leeks

Broccoli with Mornay Sauce

All reviews on my blog are my own opinion. I have received no compensation or test products from the manufacturers. I am simply sharing my views and experience with the product.

Product Review: DCC Double Chocolate Brownies & a Recipe

Photo: DCC Double Chocolate Brownie

Product Review: DCC Double Chocolate Brownies

Every now and then, when you go out to dinner at a place that offers gooey brownies topped with ice cream, you may be tempted to get one. Especially if you’re like me and you miss the chocolate deliciousness of a brownie. I actually have a pretty good brownie recipe, but the ease of having a mix that is so simple, you can put it together in five minutes is pretty alluring.

I recently bought a package of Dixie Carb Counters (DCC) Double Fudge Brownie mix to give it a try. First, it is a snap to get this ready to go in the oven. The easy to follow recipe walks you right through it. Before you begin, grease an 8″x8″ pan.

First problem, I can’t find my 8×8 pan, so I settle for my 6×6 pan. Okay, so my bars will be thicker than they would be in an 8×8, which means cook them a little longer. Also, I cut a piece of parchment paper to put on the bottom so they won’t stick. That takes a minute to do, so not an issue. Then spray the parchment with baking spray.

Next, melt one stick of unsalted butter and the contents of package 1, which is chocolate, together in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave. Works great. After one minute, I have melted chocolate and butter that I mix together.

Next add in 2 eggs, the flour and cocoa mixture in the second packet and mix well. Pour into your baking pan and cook for 15 to 18 minutes until they are done and spring back when you touch them. Cut into 16 pieces and you’re done.

Easy to make. But you don’t end up with the little beauty at the top of my page. Nope, that is my variation on this mix. While the mix will yield a 2×2″ brownie that is 52 calories and 2 net carbs, it isn’t iced and nutty like mine. To make my version, read on.

Caramel Pecan Brownie

Photo: Pan of Caramel Pecan Brownies

1 package of Dixie Diner Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
2 Eggs
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Pecans, chopped
8 Russell Stover Sugar-free Chocolate Carmels, cut in half

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8×8-inch baking pan with baking spray or cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and spray with baking spray.

In a medium microwavable bowl, add the butter and packet 1 from the mix (chocolate bar), then microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir to mix together and make sure they are melted. (If not, put back in the micro for another 30 seconds.)

Add the baking mix in packet 2, vanilla extract, and the eggs. Mix together using a spoon or whisk until all the flour is incorporated. Add the pecans and stir to distribute.

Pour the batter into the pan and tap it down to make sure it is even. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the brownies look done but still soft when you touch them. Turn off the oven, then put the caramels on top of the brownies in rows of 4 across and 4 down. Leave the brownies in the oven another 5 minutes, then remove and spread the melted chocolate caramel over the top like an icing.

Remove and let cool so the caramel sets before cutting into 16 – 2 inch brownies.

Nutrition Information for 1 brownie (16 yield)
Calories: 84.3 Fat: 5.8 g Net Carbs: 2.5 g Protein: 1.5 g

If you make them in a smaller pan, like a 6×6″ one, then cook them about 20 minutes before checking, then follow the rest of the instruction, but cut them into 8 slices rather than 16.

Nutrition Information for 1 brownie (8 yield)
Calories: 168.7 Fat: 11.5 g Net Carbs: 5.0 g Protein: 3 g

Based on my experience with the Brownie mix, I’d give it five cooking spoons of deliciousness.

Tip: If you refrigerate your brownies, take them out about an hour before you want to serve them to allow them to come to room temperature and for the caramel to soften before cutting.