Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

Product Review: Diet-to-Go

On any normal day for lunch, I’m usually eating a pasta/quinoa salad, soup, vegetable salad or a sandwich. Same old, same old (unless I get lucky with leftovers from the night before). What I’m not eating is lobster ravioli, turkey burgers or chicken pizzas. But those are exactly the types of meals I’ve been eating since discovering Diet-to-Go.

As part of my partnership with Diet-to-Go as an ambassador, I received a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners to try out for myself. Before I tell you what I thought of the meals and how the experience went, I must first say that I didn’t eat the meals continuously for 5 days. When I got my shipment, I put a few meals in the fridge and left the rest in the freezer to take out as needed. As a food writer, I’m constantly testing recipes for articles that I’m working on, hence no need to prepare meals myself. And since we live in a two-person household, sometimes one dish can last awhile, like a vegetable salad dish I made last week and had 5 servings of throughout the course of three days.

The good news is, I still have a bunch of my meals left to try. But since I’ve already eaten about half of what I was sent, I’m still confident I can give you, my readers, an accurate depiction of what the program is like. To make things easier, I’m going to do my own Q&A featuring questions I’ve received about Diet-to-Go since Tweeting, Facebooking and blogging about them a few weeks ago.

How do the meals taste? Are they good?

Yes!! As someone who’s eaten frozen entrées in the past, I was expecting something similar to show up at my door. But I was surprised at how fresh and real everything tastes once you heat it up. Everything is prepared fresh and then it goes through a flash freeze before being shipped to your house in a cooler full of ice packs. They recommend placing your meals in the freezer right away if you’re not going to eat them within a few days, which is what I did.

Although I’m not a fan of ground turkey, one of my favorite meals was the turkey chili with a cornbread muffin and artichoke pasta salad.

This meal kept me full until dinner. And the muffin was so good! Another one of my favorite meals was the chicken pizza. At first I thought it was just pizza topping on top of a chicken breast, but I was surprised to find a soft, whole wheat crust underneath.

There was only one meal I wasn’t crazy about, a portobello pizza made out of a mushroom cap with a side of vegetables. I was starving a few hours later and didn’t feel as satisfied as the other meals. But other than that one, I genuinely liked everything else that was served.

Is it expensive?

If you’re worried about your budget, you can find sales and specials through Diet-to-Go. You can check out their pricing plans here. Right now they are running a 20% off special for new clients (or visit my previous post for a $50 off Diet-to-Go coupon code). A 5-day plan starts at $95.99 for 10 meals (5 lunches and 5 dinners). If you’re still worried about cost, I would suggest just getting lunch and dinner. Although some of their plans offer breakfast, picking up yogurt or eating oatmeal on your own is an easy way to cut costs. But I have to warn you, their breakfasts are pretty tasty. I was thrilled to dig into these blueberry pancakes one morning.

Who would benefit from Diet-to-Go?

Anyone who’s busy would benefit from a meal delivery system. I always pack my lunch for work and I loved just throwing a Diet-to-Go meal into my lunch sack and not worrying about it if was balanced or if I would have enough food. I didn’t have to think about it, which was nice for a change. Also, people who don’t have time to grocery shop or those trying to lose weight would benefit greatly from portion controlled meals.

What kinds of plans can you get?

In their plans, you can choose between 1,200 and 1,600 calorie plans. You can also pick a traditional, vegetarian or low-fat option. I chose the 1,600 traditional plan. I would have loved a 1,400 calorie plan, but they don’t offer one. I figured I would rather have extra food and not eat it (like an extra juice with breakfast) than being hungry. Most of the meals have calorie counts on them, and they range from about 350-600 calories.

What’s the best part about Diet-to-Go?

Having ready-made food in the fridge! I felt when I was eating the meals I was more likely to make healthier choices throughout the day. Also, I tend to get stuck in meal ruts, so it was nice to try new foods.

Question for you: What do you think is the biggest benefit of a meal delivery system?

Disclaimer: Diet-to-Go has given me this product to review. I was not given the product in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Le Creuset French Oven Giveaway

Oh la la. When it comes to cooking, nothing has changed my life quite like Le Creuset. I hinted to the giveaway yesterday in this Cranberry Swirl Bread post. For the past month, I’ve used Le Creuset’s 5 qt. Oval French Oven more than anything else in my kitchen.

My cherry red oven has also made its Milwaukee Journal Sentinel debut in Sunday’s paper. I used it to make and display a creamy stovetop mac and cheese. Baby Tristan loved it (and the kid in me did too).

The feature I love most about this Dutch oven is that you can go directly from the stovetop to the oven because it’s made of heavy-duty cast iron. So a mac and cheese that you finish in the oven to crisp up the top would be perfect. In addition to three batches of mac and cheese (yes, we’ve been on quite a kick lately), we’ve also made a venison loin with roasted vegetables, Ginger and Pear Butternut Squash Soup and gumbo (to name a few).

Besides how gorgeous it is (seriously, I leave it on my stove 24/7 — it’s way too pretty for a cupboard), it also distributes heat evenly, features ergonomic handles and the interior enamel resists chipping and cleans easily. Other features include:

  • Colorful, long-lasting exterior enamel resists chipping and cracking; interior enamel is engineered to resist staining and dulling
  • Sand-colored interior enamel makes it easy to monitor food as it cooks, preventing burning and sticking
  • Oversized handles provide even weight distribution and a secure grip
  • Ergonomic composite knobs are heat resistant to 500°F
  • Built-in lid stabilizers provide a secure, no-slide fit
  • The lightest weight per quart of any premium cast iron cookware available

My French oven is the traditional Cherry color, but Le Creuset also offers a variety of stylish hues to match your kitchen perfectly, such as Quince (this cheerful yellow is my new favorite), Dune, Caribbean, Flame, Cassis and much more.

Le Creuset Giveaway!

My Le Creuset French Oven is one of those things that I’ll have for 50 years (and leave it to my favorite grandchild in my will). I love it so much and can’t wait to offer this cooking experience to one (1) lucky She’s on the Run reader! The winner will receive his or her very own Le Creuset 5 qt. Oval French Oven (VALUED AT $270!!). To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what you’d make if you won this Dutch oven. Also, you MUST like Le Creuset on Facebook (this will also give you a second entry).

For EXTRA ENTRIES (please leave a comment for each additional entry), you may:

3. Tweet about the giveaway, saying something like, “I entered the @lecreuset #giveaway from @Shesontherun! http://shesontherun.com/?p=3636″

4. Follow me on Twitter @Shesontherun

5. Follow me on Facebook

6. Follow me on Pinterest

7. Follow Le Creuset on Twitter

The giveaway will be open from today until March 14, 2013. Good luck!!!

Disclaimer: Le Creuset has given me this product to review. I was not given the product in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Edgeware Grater and Zester Giveaway

As someone who loves to cook (and write about it), I often have doubles or sometimes triples of things in my kitchen. This may seem like a great thing, but take my “blender” situation. I have two blenders, yet each of them are horrible and the motor stops when you put something as hard as an ice cube into it. (Side Story: I tried to make a smoothie with kale the other day and instead of drinking it, I ended up chewing most of it —  and whatever I didn’t chew was stuck in my teeth. #BlenderFail)

My grater situation is a little better. I do have one box grater and three zesters. I thought they were doing a good job until I discovered Edgeware.

 

With my other graters, I was used to pushing really hard or using different areas of the blade to get a good zest. The second I used the V-etched Better Zester! I could immediately feel the difference. Las night I made pineapple salsa and needed to zest a lime. Not only was the whole process easier and faster, but I also got way more zest out of the lime than I usually do.

Another feature that differentiates this zester is the storage container with squeegee, which keeps all your zest in one neat place instead of flying around the kitchen and on your clothes.

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In addition to the zester, I’ve also been having fun with Edgeware’s V-etched Coarse Grater with V-etched Grater Attachment and the V-etched Spice Grater. You can’t deny that each of these are designed very ergonomically. The handle features a no-slip grip that makes everyday kitchen tasks much easier. Whereas before you may have dreaded shredding cheese or grating fresh nutmeg, Edgeware makes those tasks much more enjoyable. (And since I love each of these graters so much, I’m pitching my old ones…or at least donating them at our next clothing swap.)

Edgeware Giveaway!

Because the folks at Edgeware are some of the most awesome people you’re ever going to meet, they’re offering one (1) lucky She’s on the Run reader his or her very own set of graters and zesters! The winner will receive one (1) Edgeware V-etched Better Zester!, one (1) V-etched Coarse Grater, one (1) V-etched Grater Attachment, and one (1) V-etched Spice Grater. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me your biggest kitchen pet peeve. Also, you MUST like Edgeware on Facebook (this will also give you a second entry).

For EXTRA ENTRIES (please leave a comment for each additional entry), you may:

3. Tweet about the giveaway, saying something like, “I entered the @SmithsEdgeware #giveaway from @Shesontherun! http://shesontherun.com/?p=3602″

4. Follow me on Twitter @Shesontherun

5. Follow me on Facebook

6. Follow me on Pinterest

7. Follow Edgeware on Twitter

The giveaway will be open from today until March 6, 2013. Good luck!!!

Disclaimer: Edgeware has given me these products to review. I was not given the products in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Thursday Things

Happy Thursday! As we speak (or as I type, rather), I’m making my second Alpha Bakery Banana Bread of the week. We’re headed to Appleton for a funeral tonight, and Brenton’s family could use some comfort food (don’t we all?!). Unlike my healthified version from Monday, I don’t have any white whole wheat flour or cacao nibs. So I’m making this loaf exactly like my dad and I used to make it, complete with walnuts because every good banana bread needs nuts. Here’s what else I’ve been up to:

1. When it comes to comfort food, there’s nothing higher on my list than a casserole. After writing this article for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I discovered that you can make a casserole out of pretty much anything (baked mac and cheese, lasagna, even a breakfast strata).

One of the coolest things about researching and writing this article was that I got to interview Bobby Deen! (yes, that was an inaudible squeal) He was the epitome of southern charm and so down to Earth. He has a complete chapter on casseroles and one-dish meals in his new book, “From Mama’s Table to Mine.” I included a recipe for his Mexican Fiesta Casserole, which fed Brenton and I for days (the consequence of making any casserole in a two-person household).

2. I’ve been living in Zensah’s Seamless Power Running Jacket. The fabric is ultra breathable, soft and moisture wicking. You can tell this is a quality fabric as soon as you pick it up (I was introduced to Zensa when I first tried their compression socks). One thing I especially like about this jacket, besides the thumb holes, is the pocket in the back. Most people would use this for a key. I use it for poop bags. #TheLifeOfADogOwner

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Giveaway Winner!

Thanks for everyone who entered the Dreamfarm giveaway. The winner is…

Congrats, Tara! Please send your address to Alysha@Shesontherun.com by Saturday, Feb. 23, so I can get your prize out to you asap! If I don’t hear from you by then, I will choose a new winner.

Of Possible Interest:

Restaurants Turn Camera Shy (The New York Times)

10 Terrific Food Documentaries to stream on Netflix Tonight (The Kitchn)

Question: What’s your favorite casserole recipe? (links welcome!)

Dreamfarm Clongs and Chobs Giveaway!

I’m sure you read the title of this post and thought, clongs? chobs? huh?

These are just a few of the products made by Dreamfarm – an innovative company that offers brilliant solutions for cooking, brushing your teeth, and even feeding your cat.

I was lucky enough to receive a set of their clongs (tongs that can stand up on their own without a spoon rest) and a set of chobs, which allow you to use both sides of your cutting board.

Check out these Chobs:

 

In my opinion, you can never have too many spatulas or tongs in your kitchen. What I especially like about Dreamfarm’s clongs is that they’re made of silicone so they won’t scrape any of your pans. I’m just as jazzed about the chobs. In addition to letting you use both sides of a cutting board (such as one side for produce and one for meat), they help prevent your board from sliding around the counter. Not to mention they fit very securely so you won’t be fiddling with them every time you need to slice and dice.

Giveaway!

Dreamfarm has so graciously offered to send (1) She’s on the Run reader (1) pair of clongs and (1) set of chobs! All you have to do to be in the running is leave a comment below telling me what you would do or make with either of these products. Also, you MUST like Dreamfarm on Facebook (this will also give you a second entry).

For EXTRA ENTRIES (please leave a comment for each additional entry), you may:

2. Tweet about the giveaway: I entered A @WeAreDreamfarm #giveaway from @Shesontherun! http://shesontherun.com/?p=3545

3. Follow me on Twitter @Shesontherun

4. Follow me on Facebook

5. Follow me on Pinterest

6. Follow Dreamfarm on Twitter

The giveaway will be open from today until February 20, 2013! Good luck!!!

Disclaimer: Dreamfarm has given me these products to review. I was not given the products in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Ginger and Pear Butternut Squash Soup

When it comes to winter produce, squash is where it’s at. This season, I’ve made Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Roasted Acorn Squash with Mascarpone and Fig Jam, and my favorite: Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gnocchi.

So when KitchenAid sent me their new 5-Speed Hand Blender to try out, I immediately thought of smoothies, soup, fresh salsa and squash.

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As a cook with a smaller kitchen, I love appliances that can do double duty. This blender can do a whole lot more. From chopping nuts to whisking egg whites to blending my morning smoothie, the 5 attachments can tackle nearly every kitchen project. Not to mention, it comes in an adorable carry case that keeps everything together (and yes, only I would use the word adorable to describe anything kitchen related). Other features include:

    • 5 Speeds
    • 5 ft Power Cord
    • 8″ (20.3 cm) Removable Stainless Steel Blending Arm
    • BPA-free Blending Jar Material
    • Blend, Puree, Chop, Shred, Mince Froth/Mix and Whisk/Emulsify/Aerate
    • Clean and Store
    • Easy Clean Up
    • FIRST EVER Removable Pan Guard
    • Hand Blender
    • Industry’s First Interchangeable Stainless Steel Bell Blade Assemblies
    • KitchenAid® Hand Blender
    • KitchenAid® Hand Blender with Accessories
    • Quiet, Powerful DC Motor
    • S Blade
    • Stainless Steel Frother Beater Bell Blade Assembly
    • Stainless Steel Multipurpose Bell Blade Assembly
    • Stainless Steel S Blade Bell Blade Assembly
    • Storage Case
    • The premium stainless steel blending attachment reaches an 8″ immersion depth
    • The stainless steel whisk maximizes air in mixtures for fluffier egg whites and whipped cream
    • Twist Lock Blending Arm
    • 3 speeds provide greater processing control that adjusts to handle a variety of foods, beverages and soups
    • Whisk Attachment
    • 1 Liter Pitcher with Splash-Free Lid
    • 1-Year Hassle Free Warranty
    • 2.5 Cup Chopper
    • DC Motor
    • The stainless steel splashguard covers the blending blade to prevent splattering of ingredients
    • Twist Lock Stainless Steel 8″ (20.3 cm) Blending Arm

To really test this hand blender out, I decided to create a new recipe. I love butternut squash soup, but I wanted to add a twist to it. Instead of adding the typical carrot/onion mixture, I wanted to infuse the soup with flavors of pear, ginger and nutmeg. I was going out on a limb with this one, but I love how it turned out.

One of my favorite features of the hand blender is that it comes with a pan guard so the blades don’t scratch your cookware. I also love the fact that I can control the speed. Our old immersion blender doesn’t even have an “on” button, so this is a major upgrade :)

 

This soup will definitely make it into my lunch this week (and it’s even DietBet friendly!). Although it’s only been in the teens in Wisconsin with several inches of snow, I vow to make as much soup as a can before spring (which is our neck of the woods means May).

 

Disclaimer: KitchenAid sent me this hand blender for a review. I was not compensated in any other way and not under any contract to write about it. All opinions are my own.

Pig of the Month BBQ Review

While visiting Chicago for work yesterday, I started thinking about how food can change in a matter of miles. Take Milwaukee for instance, we’re known for our craft beer, brats, cheese and all things deep-fried. Travel just 90 minutes south to Chicago and you get a completely different culinary experience. In this city, it’s all about deep-dish pizza, Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs. (For lunch yesterday we had neither. We actually went to a cafe on top of a health food store for baked falafel, spinach soup and vegetable juice.)

This brings to my next point: barbecue.

I don’t think just one region can claim this cuisine. Each area (St. Lousis, Kansas City, Memphis, etc.) has their own BBQ that’s unique to them. So when Pig of the Month BBQ contacted me about reviewing their products, I figured it was necessary in the name of research.

At Pig of the Month, you can buy individual packages of rips, bacon, sausage, sauces and more or you can sign up for a BBQ of the Month Club. This would be a great gift for dads…or the meat lover in your life. Food gifts are one of my favorite things to give because they answer that age-old question, “What do I get for the person who has everything?”

I tried their Bacon Sampler, which included 3 1-pound packages of bacon.

 

Seasonal Bacon Sampler ** Limited Time Only

My favorite was the Applewood Smoked Maple Sugar Bacon. It was slightly sweet and took my Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese up several notches.

Applewood Smoked Maple Sugar Bacon

 

Imagine this with bacon on top. Delectable.

In addition to meat, Pig of the Month BBQ also offers loads of sweets. I tried their White Chocolate Ginger Pistachio Sea Salt Toffee and their Dark Chocolate Cashew Sea Salt Toffee. As a bonafide toffee lover, I was immediately drawn to their unique flavors. Each were rich, sweet and tasted like true, gourmet candy.

White Chocolate Ginger Pistachio Sea Salt ToffeeAlthough Father’s Day is still months away, keep this one in your files for a winning gift (or if you just love meat!)

Question: What is your favorite food gift to give or receive?

Disclaimer: Pig of the Month BBQ has given me these products to review. I was not given the product in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Welcome to She's on the Run! I'm Alysha, a copywriter and food writer living in Milwaukee. I live to run, write and explore wonderful food - this blog is how I find balance while constantly being on the run. Feel free to reach me at Alysha@shesontherun.com with any questions or comments.
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