Some things I’ve been trying lately…

Hi guys, hope you’re enjoying your weekend! I’m just dropping in quickly to give a review of some products I was sent.

Review

I was very pleased with the Alpro cool bag as well! That’ll be great for picnics in the future Smile

Alpro Products

First up are the Soya yogurts. I was sent Alpro Fruity & Creamy Cherry and Alpro Fruity & Creamy Peach.Soya

I’m not a big fan of yogurts with bits in at all so I let Ben have these. He’s never tried soya yogurts before but he does like sweetened yogurts.

I personally love the taste of the plain soya yogurt as it’s different to normal yogurt where normal yogurt has a definite ‘twang’ to it, if you know what I mean. Ben said he really liked these. They were very sweet and he liked the fruit bits in them. The yogurt was nice and thick as well he said. He would have them again!

Looking at the nutritional profile of the yogurts they’re 125 calories per pot, with around 10g sugar, 4g protein and around 2g saturate fat. The ingredients list isn’t the best in the world, but I’d say it’s better than a lot of other yogurts out there!

All in all, a great snack to have when you’re feeling a bit peckish and fancy something sweet!

I was also sent some Unsweetened Almond Milk and Sweetened Almond Milk. Now you guys know I love my almond milk so these went down perfectly in my usual morning oatmeal.

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I much prefer the unsweetened almond milk as I’m really not a fan of overly sweet oatmeal. Just the sweetness of the milk itself is enough for me. However, I did try it in other things such as cups of tea (which added a lovely subtle sweetness which I sometimes like with traditional breakfast tea) and smoothies.

Berry smoothie

This was a frozen berry, banana and sweetened almond milk smoothie. Delicious after a walk with Alfie after being in the sun.

Yu Products

Next up we have the Yu! Bar. This was a Wild Berry flavour with yogurt topping. Again I gave this to Ben as he’s always complaining he doesn’t have enough time in the morning for breakfast and then gets hungry.

Yu Bar

His opinion on this: “amazing”. It had like a jammy filling and was very crunchy he said. Very sweet. He loved it.

It’s 133 calories for this bar, with “no artificial nasties” and contains 33% real fruit, 33% yogurt coating and 22% cereal. It’s quite high in sugar (especially the yogurt coating as you might expect) with 20g of carbohydrates. There’s only 1.4g protein and 5g fat. I’m not sure how much this would fill you up and keep you going. However, Ben couldn’t stress the taste factor enough. So a nice treat once in a while rather than a breakfast substitute I think.

Then we had the dried cherry pieces and dried strawberry pieces.Yu review

I took the cherry pieces and Ben had the strawberry ones. We both really enjoyed these. Each pouch is around 90 calories. I quite enjoyed nibbling on these one boring afternoon at work. They’re gluten free and the ingredients look pretty clean – and one of your five a day. But Ben said it was definitely a “healthy” snack more than a fun snack.

Purition

Smoothie mix

This was a product I was really intrigued about. I have never tried protein powders before and if I’m honest I am not a protein powder kinda girl. I just don’t see the need for it in my life. I like ‘real’ food. But I know a lot of people love them and find they’re a great addition to their diet and I have no problem with that! Just for me I like to eat something rather than drink something if that makes sense.

I got sent two Superseed Breakfast Smoothie Blends both Pistachio flavoured. I was less reluctant to let Ben try as I greedily wanted both…But in effort to be a better wife I shared Winking smile

Smoothie making

We whizzed it up using half a frozen banana each and I had sweetened Almond milk and Ben had normal milk.

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I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this! And it was hugely filling. Like literally kept us going for a fair few hours. We had this today after we got back from our Parkrun (more on that on another post) around 10ish and we didn’t need lunch until 3pm!

It’s gluten free, low carb, low salt, no added sugars, no artificial sweeteners or preservatives or additives and high in protein and fibre.

Per smoothie (without adding the milk or banana) it was 190 calories, with almost 15g protein, less than 4g carbohydrates, and less than 2g saturate fat. Not bad! And a very nice looking ingredient list!

However, it is pricey…almost £19 for 14 servings-worth. I think the only times I’d drink this would be after (or before) a long-run when I need something to properly top me up or between lunch and dinner as a good solid snack.

Dr. Karg Products

And finally! I was also sent Dr Karg crispbreads.

Dr Karg

These babies were tricky to not gobble up quickly I must say. I’ve been enjoying one every so often when I’m peckish at work or at the weekend between meals. I don’t even need to add anything to them as the toppings make them interesting enough for me!

However, I did add a couple to lunch one day when I had a lovely bowl of soup.

Soup collage

They held up really well in terms of dunkability and provided great scoopage for the chunky soup. Really good addition for lunch!

The Olive and Rosemary ones were really tasty but the 3+3 were my favourite (above). Both sets of ingredients list were top notch. Lots of wholegrains, seeds, herbs…just good old fashioned ingredients. I think they’re roughly around 100 calories per crispbread. The seeds help boost the protein (over 4g) and carbohydrates 11g, and less than 1g of saturated fat per crispbread.

Hope you enjoyed my review! I’m off to do some housework, joy of joys.

Which of these products take your fancy? My favourite was the Alrpo Unsweetened Almond milk but only because I have it literally every singly day. Though I did enjoy trying the protein shake!

What do you look for in a good snack: high protein, taste, clean ingredients?

Weekend Catch-Up

Helloooo. Another week and closer to summer!

And it’s my lovely husband’s birthday – happy birthday, Ben!!

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(A photo from a couple of years ago, but one of my favourites)

So catching up from the weekend. We had a great one! Friday night was ice cream and movie night. We watched Looper and though there were several times Ben and me had to pause the film to discuss it as it was such a head warp, we really enjoyed it. And the ice cream was obviously AMAZING. I’ve successfully trained my body into being able to consume an entire litre of the chocolate brownie frozen yogurt Ben and Jerry’s. Not a talent I’m hugely proud of, but delicious none-the-less.

Saturday morning I got up early and did my 10 mile run. This time I started slowly, took it slowly and didn’t push it. Though I’m currently suffering from a cold at the moment which is highly irritating. [Ben keeps informing me that I sound really creepy because when I’m sat next to him and breathing through my nose I breathe really heavily because it’s slightly blocked – like I can help it!!] So the run wasn’t the easiest despite slowing the pace. I just can’t win!

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And thankfully I had no issues from my Achilles and only slight pain in my knee at the end. But I’ve been doing lots of stretches to loosen my ‘hip flexor’ which has definitely helped. Funnily enough I listened to a Marathon Talk podcast on my run (one from a few weeks ago as I’m a bit behind) and they had a physiotherapist on and they literally talked about my exact issue. What a coincidence!

After the run I did lots of housework while Ben was out doing something-or-other to his car (installing a head-unit…I thought this was some strange technical device he had to wear on his head but it’s actually the CD player…who knew). As it was his birthday weekend he was allowed to forgo his housework duty. I try to be a good wife sometimes Winking smile

My outfit for the day:

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Jeans from Republic (in the sale as they’re sadly closing down), top from New Look, scarf from Accessorize, necklace from Mango, shoes from Next.

Then we met up with a couple we’re friends with and went to Nando’s for lunch. It became a bit of a chicken eating competition as we ordered. The two guys went for WHOLE chickens and two sides and us two ladies went for half chickens and two sides. Now usually I’m the greedy one out of Ben and me so I was fairly impressed. Though Ben did cave at the last minute of ordering and gave me one of his sides. The embarrassing part is that when I ordered for us at the till the man asked me if I wanted three drinks because he thought there were three of us eating…

And we had a mezze board to start!! With the world’s worst photos I’m afraid. It was so dark in the restaurant!

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And for my main, my half chicken with a corn on the cob and side salad (I wanted to maximise on the chicken experience):

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Sorry that really is a terrible photo… I had mango and lime sauce on it and it was really good. After my run this was a truly appreciated meal. I finished this off and had Ben’s other side (another corn on the cob; I have a crazy obsession with them) and helped Ben with some of his chicken when he was struggling.

Literally could not move afterwards. Needless say I don’t want to see chicken for a while now.

Afterwards we all needed to get outside and walk a bit for fear of exploding. I managed to get a steal in French Connection – a lovely sparkly clutch down from £65 to £10!!! Crazy. Apologies no photo…but it’s very dainty and pretty. I also got some Estee Lauder BB cream. I love BB creams because they’re so lightweight. I don’t usually wear make-up but if I’m going out or having an ugly day I’ll slap some tinted moisturiser on so this is perfect.

~gpr v1 @ 7/13/2011 @ 4:26 PM~gpr v2 @ 7/18/2011 @ 6:45 PM~gpr v3 @ 7/18/2011 @ 8:00 PM~bt v4 @ 7/20/2011 @ 4:51 PM~bt v4 @ 7/20/2011 @ 6:41 PM~bt v4 @ 7/20/2011 @ 7:49 PM~bt v4 @ 7/20/2011 @ 8:02 PM~bt v4 @ 7/20/2011 @ 10:42 PM~jd v5 @ 7/22/2011 @ 11:49 AM~GPR v6 @ 7/27/2011 @ 4:40 PM~gpr v7 @ 7/28/2011 @ 4:43 PM~bt  v8 @ 8/1/2011 @ 4:07 PM~bt v8 @ 8/1/2011 @ 6:37 PM~JD  v9 @ 8/2/2011 @ 1:38 PM~TS v10 @ 8/8/2011 @ 3:42 PM~jd v11 @ 8/9/2011 @ 4:19 PM~JD v11 @ 8/10/2011 @ 9:54 AM~JD v12 @ 8/10/2011 @ 12:39 PM~TS v13 @ 8/11/2011 @ 6:39 PM~JD v14 @ 8/12/2011 @ 9:35 AM

And I also got some running leggings as well from Nike.

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They’re perfect for when it gets a bit warmer. I have shorts for the summer, long leggings for the winter and capris for the in-between bits but I hated how they flared out at the bottom just under my knees. Also the new ones have a zip just above the bum where I can put my key. Perfect.

Then we had a drink at a little bar and then went home where Ben and I enjoyed a nice evening of Game of Thrones series one (watching again because series two is almost released). Dinner was porridge for me and toast for Ben. Seriously, nothing else would have fitted after all that chicken.

Sunday was a quiet day of family coming over to wish Ben a happy birthday and basically doing not much else (on my part, Ben was still doing his head unit thing – this was his birthday present, by the way). Though I did enjoy a truly delicious lunch.

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Butternut squash and coconut milk soup. I forgot how much I loved this soup. It really hit the spot.

And a standard pudding at the weekend for me:

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Melon! And do you know what, I’m embarrassed to say that I went back and had the other half a few hours later. So yeah, an entire melon was consumed. On a random note, melons really freak me out. Ben has to cut them for me because I honestly can’t stand the inside of them. All those seeds just make me feel really sick. I’m not sure why. The same happens with bell peppers. I’ll use a word that I really hate to describe it: clustering of seeds. GROSS.

I’ve also recently been thorough enjoying snacking on these bad boys:

Popcorn

I was sent these from Lord Poppington’s range of popcorns to review and honestly loved them. I did get the Four Cheese flavour as well but for some reason didn’t manage to photograph it. Probably because I gobbled it down too quickly.

I’m a big fan of popcorn so I was looking forward to trying these. They’re gluten free, low in fat and with no artificial flavours. And being a wholegrain product it means they’re a good source of fibre. And each pack contains between 94-128 calories. And you get a fair amount for this! Better than Snack a Jacks I have to say.

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My favourite flavour by far was the Chilli and Lime. It was so flavoursome. My mouth was a little bit on fire, but in a good way. The Four Cheese was my second favourite. I just love the flavours.

But the only thing I will say is that they only seem to be available on Amazon and quite expensive. I’m a little bit devastated by this as I would honestly swap these for my Snack A Jacks. They’re probably a lot better for me than the God knows what they put in Snack A Jacks.

But, inspired by the above, I have since bought some plain popping kernels to make my own…watch this space.

What did you get up to this weekend?

Sweet or salty popcorn? I would have said sweet but after trying the savoury flavours I’ve changed sides for a bit.

Impending Doom and an Alpro Review

So tomorrow is a very scary day. I’m off to London to do a Very Scary Presentation in front of Someone Very Important (capital letters are strictly required to convey the magnitude of this event). I’m confident I know my stuff, I’m fully prepared – this is something I’ve been immersed in for weeks now. I know it. But I am terrified. I am lowly business analyst and the person in question is our customer’s Big Boss. There’s no one above him. There’s a lot riding on this – how I present it and what I’m presenting. No pressure then.

I am amazed at how far I’ve come since I started this job and this project I’m on. I’ve been put (pushed? dragged?) into uncomfortable situations where I felt out of my depth, I’ve given presentations to our team and customer when I thought I knew nothing, I’ve been in meetings where I’m put on the spot, I’ve even picked up someone’s slack when they underperformed – but I’ve handled it. I’m a new woman! OK maybe not new, but definitely improved. It’s been tough though – some Sunday nights I’ve contemplated calling in sick. But I haven’t. I’ve dealt with these hurdles and I’ve definitely benefited. I just hope I keep getting better.

So, the lovely people at Alpro sent me a hoard of products to have a try of. Check out my very happy grin when I saw the parcels:

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It was like Christmas!

27.07 Alpro

Almond milk, Strawberry Shake Soya Milk, Hazelnut Milk and Soya Chocolate Dessert.

I’ve been experimenting with all these to test them out and see what’s my favourite. The almond milk is amazing (but that’s no surprise!). I’ve been using it in my smoothies:

Green smoothie

It adds a very subtle sweetness to them which I adore. It also works brilliantly in pancakes!

5.08 pancakes

The chocolate dessert is a sweet indulgence after dinner, but it’s not actually that naughty. 110 calories per dessert (less than 1g Sat Fat as well) and it’s a fairly hefty little tub. Bigger than your standard chocolate mousses but it’s richer and thicker. Very nice. I really want to try the caramel one. I’ve even added the chocolate dessert in one of my more filling post-run smoothies:

28.07 smoothie ingredients

This made an amazingly dessert-like chocolate rich thick smoothie (why use one descriptive word when you can use many??):

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The only thing that I didn’t get on with with the almond milk was that it was too sweet for my porridge. I’m very particular about that – I like it to be almost savoury. Anything like jam or fruit in my porridge I’m not a fan of and sweetened milk is not my cup of tea (or bowl of porridge as it were). However, I know Alpro do an unsweetened soya milk which I love so maybe they’ll bring out an unsweetened almond milk…

My favourite was the hazelnut milk…This was delicious. I’ve just been drinking glasses of this fresh from the fridge.

Hazelnut milk

It’s so yummy. Perfect for smoothies and pancakes. It has a different taste to almond milk (duh, Anna, it’s a different nut) and it has a lovely creamy brown look to it.

Now the most crazy things of all – prepare yourselves – is that Ben loves the Strawberry Shake and the Chocolate Dessert. He can’t get enough! This is the boy that hates anything that isn’t your bog-standard cow’s milk or yogurt. Greek yogurt is even a push for him. So anyone who’s a bit unsure of soya, give these a go and see what you think. I’m partial to a Strawberry one after a run just to inject some protein and sugar into myself fast:

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And you feel like a bit of a kid with the little carton Smile

I also treated myself to the plain yogurt as well:

Soya yogurt

The pouring one is brilliant as I just pour a slug of it into my smoothies without any extra washing up. Soya yogurt tastes completely different to normal yogurt and I much prefer it (anyone else with me on that?). I couldn’t sit there eating spoonful’s of normal yogurt or Greek yogurt but I could with this.

I love Alpro because they’re a good source of a host of nutrients (calcium, vitamins B12, D, etc.) and no artificial nasties. Big thumbs up from me!

**All these views are my own – and yes, I am a bit of an Alpro fan! Hehe Smile **

So hopefully tomorrow will go well. I won’t fall over and embarrass myself (it could happen, honestly, I’m that clumsy).

Anyone else got something scary happening tomorrow?

Or any tips on how to use hazelnut milk in some interesting recipes?