Monday, September 30, 2013

Blue Bell Cotton Candy (An Ice Cream Review)

Of the two (now three) experiences of cotton candy in my life, only one has been with real cotton candy. Then I tried Ben & Jerry’s new Walmart exclusive take on the candy and, well, I was impressed. With a whole new respect for cotton candy ice cream, which I’ve never felt the desire to try before. Thanks to that realization, I eagerly grabbed Blue Bell’s take on cotton candy as soon as I saw it at Walmart.

No description needed, it’s fairly obvious, just cotton candy-flavored ice cream.

With probably the coolest, most perfect swirl ever! Is that pretty or what!

Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to say about this ice cream. With no mix-ins, it’s not quite as exciting as Ben & Jerry’s version, but it tastes pretty similar. It’s like eating pure sugar, which I guess is what cotton candy is. It’s even sweeter than cake batter, which I love because it’s one of the sweetest ice cream bases out there. It reminds me of something, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what...frosting maybe? Or maybe even sweeter that was almost too much, all at once. I had to slow down, which is a rare occurrence.

This is one of the creamier Blue Bell flavors, although it’s still not quite up to Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s. It’s also not as dense. It’s easy to spoon out, doesn’t melt too quickly, and...well, it’s a well-done premium ice cream but it’s not super-premium, if you know what I mean. But I still loved it. It may be my favorite Blue Bell flavor yet (the only rival being Krazy Kookie Dough).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I Choose Life

The road less traveled is a hard one to drive.

It’s unpredictable, full of doubt, full of forks where no one can tell you which way to take. In fact the road less traveled is more of a tunnel, through which you must blindly feel your way and trust that you will finally round one of the twists and see the light at the end.

Except the road less traveled is unique, in that the people on the mainstream highway like to tell you you’re doing it wrong. So do the people at the beginning, deciding whether to cruise on the highway or fumble in the dark. And so does your constant companion, that abusive lover you’re looking to lose in the darkness, your ED.

The funny thing is, they all use the same damn arguments.

Which makes it harder in a way. Anyone who hasn’t experienced it has no idea how hard it is to hear someone tell you the exact thing your ED wants to hear. Look at you, bingeing on cake and cookies and eating thousands of calories in one sitting, every single day. Pigging out whenever you get the chance, just because you feel like it. Eating because you have nothing better to do. Aren’t you afraid you’re never going to stop? Is one cookie ever going to cut it? How is that even possible?

ED LOVES this. The perfect excuse to run back screaming and crying to the beginning of the tunnel and head for the highway. To stop eating, to start exercising, to lose this awful weight I have gained and prevent gaining the weight that is yet to come.

But there’s something oddly comforting in knowing that the majority of people are simply parroting ED. Because the single biggest thing I have learned so far in this pitch-black tunnel, is that ED is wrong. It lies, it cheats, it steals, it does everything in its power to get its way. Its sole goal is to hurt you, to get you to doubt yourself, to take away your identity and replace it with some sick sort of robot. Your thoughts are not your own. I have finally experienced my own thoughts, thanks to this long dark tunnel, and that is a gift I’m starting to realize that precious few people actually get.

So yes, every time I hear my own fears thrown back in my face by someone else, I have a moment of panic. OK, maybe more than a moment, but you get the idea. But I am stronger than that, I have faith in this process, and I am not giving up just because someone else refuses to believe. I’m not going to walk down the aisles at the grocery store, drooling at all the delicious desserts and potato chips and bread but refusing to buy it because I am afraid of having it in my house. I’m not going to live in fear of chocolate chip cookies. I’m not going to condemn myself to a life of not being able to function in social situations because I can’t order a plate of broccoli for dinner or because I freak out at eating a slice of cake at my own birthday party. That is not living. That is existing.

I am no longer existing. I am no longer on track to die before 40, if I am lucky. I am no longer a heart-attack risk at 22.

I am what society would consider a fat, lazy pig. I am what I would have considered fat just two months ago. I am “overweight.” And I don’t even care. I am free and that’s what matters. “Fat” and free is better than thin and miserable. I am throwing everything society believes right down the toilet, and you know what? I think it scares them.

So be it. Let them be scared, let them get defensive, let them voice their doubts as much as they want. I am not doing this for them. I am doing it for me. I choose life.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Magical Weird Week

The past week has been a weird one. Weird in a good way. I feel like I’ve made a bunch of progress in a short amount of time, albeit progress I should have been making from day ond of MinnieMaud. I don’t know, that Buffalo Day last Friday clicked something into place in my brain, like doing it once makes it less and less scary and so I actually started packing more to bring with me to work. I try to listen to my hunger instead of waiting for whatever time to eat. On Thursday I was on my way out the door to go to the barn after work and I realized, I’m hungry. Well, what would a normal person do? Eat. What would I have done a week ago? Wait til I got home and it was “dinnertime.”

I’ve been holding back because I’m still afraid of gaining “too much” weight. As in, over my set point. But it’s more likely than not, and nothing I do is going to change whether or not my body decides it needs overshoot to finish all the repairs. Except I could probably drive the overshoot higher, if I kept ignoring when my stomach asks for food.

The sooner I overshoot, the sooner I become weight-stable, the sooner I taper to my set point, the sooner I am done with this whole process. And the last thing I want is to be physically healthy but not mentally healed, because I know what torture it is for an ED mind to live in a “normal” body.

So it’s crazy, in a good way. In the way that I never thought I’d see myself doing any of the things I’m doing now, much less enjoying them. Yesterday, for the first time since starting MM, I did not ride OR walk. And how many times this week have I woken up in the wee hours of the morning, plowed through a ridiculous amount of food, and gone back to bed? Yesterday morning I ate a whole package of Kroger-brand Chips Ahoy! and this morning I baked and ate a whole can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls at 4:30. Plus a Chips Ahoy! and a chocolate Rice Krispies Treat while I waited for them to cook. I don’t even care. In fact I swear my riding pants were looser this morning, after breakfast (no the cinnamon rolls didn’t count for breakfast). It’s probably just mental but I don’t even care because it all amounts to the same thing, really.

I’m sure I’ve got more weight gain coming at me. It would be almost impossible, having topped 5,000 calories several days and not going below 4,500. But I will deal with that when it comes. In the meantime, the weekends are my days to have fun cooking, so of course I have to share today’s lunch recipe!

Tortellini Bake (recipe here)

Once again, I followed that recipe, except I only made a single-serving-sized dish because all my other dishes are in use at the moment. And I burnt the crap out of the cheese topping because the BROIL setting on my oven should be marked INSTANTANEOUSLY CHAR BROIL. I swear...I only had it broiling for 3 minutes and the recipe says 10 and theirs doesn’t look like that!

Anyway, it was still YUM. Better than the macaroni and cheese last weekend, although I think I might make some more of that tomorrow to get me through the week. I also discovered that tortellini is amazing, even without the sauces and cheese on top. The kind I used was Buitoni three-cheese, and I think I found my new favorite pasta. The cool thing is that pasta doesn’t leave me feeling heavy and uncomfortably full like it used to.

Well, that’s not exactly surprising, considering nothing fills me up at the moment. I am eating regularly throughout the day, and pretty much constantly from dinner to bed, and I brush my teeth feeling like I could eat the whole day’s worth of food again if I fancied, but still being satisfied with what I’ve got...until three hours later when I wake up hungry again! It’s so weird, but comforting because this is what’s supposed to happen. This is my body waking up to the wonderful calories available to it and asking for more to repair!

There is something magical about extreme hunger. Do you know what I did this morning? I poured my cereal straight into the bowl. I did not measure it. I have no idea how much I ate, isn’t that cool?!

I don’t want to give the impression that all my days are easy. They’re not. I feel like I only write about the good ones. Which is partly because they’re fun to write about, and partly because when I have a bad day I just lose all motivation to do pretty much anything and just mess around with pointless stuff. I just don’t feel like blogging about it. So I feel like I’m painting a very skewed picture. Just don’t be fooled, this is without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I just take heart in the belief that someday, I will not get ridiculously excited in the middle of Kroger because I found Sugar Cookie Pop-Tarts. Or maybe not, because I’m just like that. But there is a difference between loving food and having your life be ruled by food. I will not have the latter. There is more to it than that.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Breyers Blasts! Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough

I know some people hate “frozen dairy desserts,” but I love them. No, they don’t have the same texture as ice cream, but I happen to like that texture very much, thank you, which is why I keep filling my freezer with Kroger’s Jammed FDDs. However, in doing so, I’ve neglected my old favorite Breyers Blasts!, which I finally decided to re-incorporate when I saw them at Food Lion this week. (For the sake of my sanity, I will refer to it as “ice cream” henceforth.)

Now technically I’ve had the Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blast! before, but it was a long time ago and I didn’t give it the attention it deserved. So here we go, and it already has a slight advantage since I know it was one of my favorites!

OK, see here’s the thing. The cookie dough might be really really small teeny pieces (did I mention they’re tiny?), BUT there is incredible cookie dough flavor in every aspect of this ice cream. It helps that there are a crap-ton of those little cookie dough pellets, but it’s also the fact that the base itself is cookie dough flavored! Yay!!! This is the only one other than Penn State Berkey Creamery’s cookie dough ice cream that uses a flavored base. This is where Ben & Jerry’s missed their chance. Because, honestly, I would pick this over B&J’s. Yep, I said it, and I do not say that lightly!

The chocolate holds its own as well, somewhere in between great chocolate and cheap chocolate. I’m not too picky, I just like chocolate, so if there’s chocolate I’m good. These are on the small side for chocolate chip mix-ins, just like the cookie dough, but that’s fine because once again, there are so many that they carry a big flavor in every bite.

This is pretty damn near perfect cookie dough ice cream. Combine that with the slightly fluffy, creamy-once-melted texture of the frozen dairy desserts, and I already want another carton. In fact it only took me two days to blow through this one. Well, technically it only takes me two days to blow through any carton, but usually I take a day or two break in between. Not so for this one. For sure, it will be a regular from now on!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review: Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards Triple Chip Cookie Bar

On my way down to North Carolina this summer, I only stopped once, when my car decided it needed gas. It was a Sheetz, I was crazy bored from four straight hours alone on similar-looking highways, I had just gotten pulled over for speeding near Fredericksburg, Virginia...OK, that’s too long a story to get into here. The point is, I stopped at Sheetz and, while there, impulsively seized a Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards Triple Chip Cookie Bar on my way to the cash register.

I’ve seen these things before, and always turned them down, so I don’t know what possessed me to buy it this time. Based on the picture on the wrapper, I was expecting an M&M chocolate chip cookie, but no...those little generic candy-coated bits of chocolate are so disappointingly...tiny. Plus, it came already broken and with the chocolate coating already smeared all over the inside of the wrapper. But both of those are probably my fault for transporting it another three or so hours in a car loaded with various loose pieces of luggage.

It looks like a slightly overdone cookie, and that’s pretty much what it tastes like. Not all that impressive, now I can tell my initial instincts were right. The sad little “chips” aren’t even big enough to add the crunch you get from real M&M’s. And I’m not even sure what the “triple” is for. Triple what? As far as I can tell, there’s only one kind of chip here, and it’s not even that great. One thing it does have going for it, though: it’s at least sweet, and it does taste like a chocolate chip cookie. Just not a great one.

I’m a raw-cookie person. It needs to be gooey and dense and soft and moist. Well, I said the thing looked overdone, and that’s the texture of it, too. It’s soft, yeah, but it’s neither moist nor dense. It’s more cakey than cookie-ish. I’ve said it before, but I don’t really like cake. I only eat it for the frosting. It’s too dry and crumbly. Same deal here.

If you don’t do raw, undercooked cookies, then this might be for you. Don’t get me wrong, it does taste like a chocolate chip cookie. But I’m not impressed enough to try the regular old chocolate chip bar, and the brownies are debatable. I liked the Fiber One 90 Calorie Chocolate Chip Cookie much better. And it was better for me. Sorry, Betty Crocker. Stick with the brownie mixes, don’t cook ‘em for us.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (An Ice Cream Review)

It’s hard to believe I’ve eaten so many flavors of Ben & Jerry’s and I haven’t even had the classic yet. There are just so many other interesting flavors besides Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and, to be honest, no one is ever going to top the cookie dough ice cream at Berkey Creamery. One of the things I miss the MOST about Penn State.

So in case you’re just dying to, this isn’t as good as Penn State’s. But it’s close.

See, if they made the base cookie dough flavored, instead of vanilla, they probably would have succeeded. As it is, it’s a very, very flavorful vanilla, on the level of vanilla bean instead of vanilla. Which is funny because when they use vanilla bean ice cream, they specify vanilla bean, like in Late Night Snack. So this has me thinking I ought to try their plain vanilla despite the number of times I’ve turned my nose up at such a “boring” prospect already.

OK, the rest of this is easy. Two mix-ins: little chocolate pieces (I’m not sure if “chip” applies in the traditional sense) and the obvious cookie dough. Saving the best for last, the chocolate is not frozen hard, but melty and creamy, and full of flavor. It’s complex, a bittersweet taste somewhere between milk and dark chocolate. It helps balance out the sweetness of the base and cookie dough.

Speaking of that cookie’s huge. Knowing Ben & Jerry’s, you were probably expecting this, and so was I after having Half Baked. It’s the same deal here. Huge and exactly like what you eat out of the tube, and just...yum. It’s gritty. It even has little chocolate chips in it. The killer is that these are BETTER than Penn State’s, it’s just the base ice cream that knocks it slightly behind overall.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Keep On Keeping On

The last few days have left me with absolutely no energy or motivation to do anything other than go to work, ride, and worry that I’ll never stop gaining weight. I’m not sure where all of this yuckiness came from, but here it is and when life gives you lemons you know what you’re supposed to do, right?

On the plus side, I’ve pretty much doubled my intake during the day and the result is that I’m naturally eating less at night (even if only slightly), I’m not sure what I was so afraid of in the first place, I should have done this a looonnng time ago! But sometimes (and this has happened to me multiple times in recovery so far), you need to get stuck in a certain place for a while before you can move forward, either because you’re feeling ready or because you’re just sick of where you are now. Of course, I’m sort of sick of still gaining so much weight, and weirdly enough a lot of people stop gaining by eating more, so I’m wondering if I should just give that a try.

Anyway, what with eating more during the day, I can have a lot more fun with food during the day as well. On Saturday I ate another pizza from Domino’s for lunch, only this time I didn’t feel bad about it and think about eating “sensibly” (read: less) the rest of the day. It was just as YUM as last time, though. :)

Sunday was homemade mac & cheese day! I’ve never made my own macaroni and cheese before. I usually just eat my mom’s. Well, I think I may have helped her shred the cheese for it once, but that’s the easy part!

Anyway, I found this recipe and it looked easy enough, plus I had a coupon for two boxes of pasta at Kroger so I needed to do something with them! I followed that recipe exactly, only I used almond milk and left out the cayenne. Aren’t you proud of me? For once I followed the actual recipe!

Well that wasn’t nearly fun enough, just doing what I was supposed to like a good girl, so of course I had to experiment a little, although in this case I’m not the one eating my experiment. See, I’m running out of horse treats, it’s a pain in the butt to try and ship anything because none of the companies will leave packages outside my door, and I never feel like driving out to Dover Saddlery after I drive to work and/or the store and then to the barn. So why not pamper Sydney with homemade cookies, made with love? Plus it’s cheaper. And I need to use up my applesauce before it goes bad. But he doesn’t know either of those things, he knows I did this because I love him. ;)

So basically I started by following a recipe I found online:
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 4 chopped baby carrots
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups Cheerios
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies (or the ever inventive Kroger brand “Crisp Rice”!)
If you’re looking at that thinking “How on earth is 1/2 cup applesauce + 1/4 cup molasses bind all that dry stuff into horse cookies?!”...well, that’s what I thought, too. And it didn’t. Basically it was a slightly sticky bowl of cereal and oatmeal. Uh yeah, no. I’m sure Sydney would still love it, but it’s not something I can put in my pocket to give to him later.

So, here’s where my wonderful cooking skills came in and I just started pouring applesauce and molasses in. I have no idea how much I used, just that it was more than half the jar of applesauce and probably a little less of the molasses. It was...interesting. I used the most enormous mixing bowl I have (and it’s bigger than any of the ones we had in Pennsylvania) and there was still stuff spilling over the edges. When it came time to bake it, I just pressed it onto a cookie sheet, and it took up the whole thing plus the one that came with my toaster oven.

Well, after about 25-30 minutes at 375, I had horse cookies! I just broke it up as I took it off the cookie sheet. It filled three decent-sized containers, I have two in my fridge right now and one is already half empty at the barn. Needless to say, Sydney likes my experiment. :)

That’s all for tonight. Hopefully something will ease off in the next few days. If not, well...we’ve just gotta keep on keeping on, right?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review: MET-Rx ProteinPlus Chocolate Fudge Deluxe

So, after my ice cream successes at Kroger, and finding several new protein bars to test out, I decided it was my favorite store...until I found out they don’t carry Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pop-Tarts. Darn, looks like I still need Food Lion after all.

But that’s beside the point. Which is, that I bought two MET-Rx bars while at Kroger, and I only posted about one. So it’s time for the other one, right?

This time it’s Chocolate Fudge Deluxe. As usual, another monster-sized protein bar.... Sound like enough chocolate for you?

Wow, you would not believe what it took to break this in half. Or maybe you would, looking at the mess it made on the napkin. I was literally straining pulling it apart while the goo and gummy base inside put up an impressive fight. On the plus side, the inside looks dark and extra chocolatey.

Well, it tastes pretty darn chocolatey, too. Oh sure, there’s the usual protein background, but it’s not too noticeable here; just enough to remind you that no, this is not a pure candy bar, there are actually 32 grams of protein in this monstrosity. The coating tastes like dark chocolate, which would be a first for MET-Rx unless it’s just the insides over-chocolating my taste buds and throwing them out of whack. The top layer lends a deep, fudgy taste that takes it to another level.

That said, the base was a bit disappointing. It reminded me of a Tootsie Roll, and in my opinion Tootsie Rolls are a really poor excuse for a chocolate flavored candy and not all that fun to chew either. So it was like putting hot fudge sauce on a Tootsie Roll: Why would you ruin perfectly good hot fudge sauce? OK, it wasn’t that bad, but it didn’t really contribute to the overall chocolatey-ness. On the other hand, the coating and goo had plenty of that going on to carry me through this bar.

On to I already mentioned, it’s tough. The base is gummy like a Tootsie Roll and you’re going to get a jaw workout unless (and even if) you take it slow. It’s a little juicy. Oh, and the goo...I love it. It’s almost syrupy, it gooshes in your mouth and sticks to everything, but I like it, I really do. It’s what takes this bar from an OK protein bar to a good one that I’d eat again.

Taste: 8--very chocolatey, though the Tootsie Roll base is a bit disappointing on that front. But the fudge layer totally makes up for it.
Texture: 7--it’ll make you work, that’s for sure. It’s like a monster Tootsie Roll, with gooey fudgy filling. I’d like a little more give to the base.
Health: 7--32 grams is a ton of protein, plus there are a lot of vitamins and good stuff. But it also takes up 39% of your daily saturated fat intake. And a LOT (26 g) of sugar alcohols! GoodGuide gives it a 7.7.
Eat Again? Sure.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

TCBY Honey Vanilla Frozen Greek Yogurt

I recently rekindled my interest in frozen Greek yogurt. Well, honey caramel vanilla frozen Greek yogurt. I really do adore it, I just spend so much time eating chocolatey rich ice cream that I forget how good this stuff can be.

TCBY doesn’t have a honey caramel version like Yoplait and Ben & Jerry
s, but they do have a Honey Vanilla frozen Greek yogurt. I was a bit wary since it was missing caramel and I’m not really a fan of straight honey, even on bread. Unless it’s a peanut butter and honey sandwich, which is a different story.

Now for some reason (maybe that picture on their website) I was thinking that without the caramel there wouldn’t be a swirl, that this would just be Greek yogurt that was flavored like both honey and vanilla. But...nope! Honey can be swirled as well!

So the first thing I did, like always, was to scrape off the ice cream stuck to the lid. And like WOW. Even just that little film was really sweet. It hit me so hard I actually consciously blinked. And for some reason it reminded me of candy corn.

Where Yoplait’s base was obviously vanilla yogurt, this one seems to have integrated the honey into the base. Which I wasn’t expecting at all because of the honey swirl. Either that or TCBY just has some strong vanilla yogurt. You do get used to it, but it’s very overwhelming at first (in a good way!) and takes some adjustment. But they get points just for grabbing my interest, as well as having visible specks of vanilla bean. I love that.

The swirl is chewy, but not gooey like caramel. It’s so deceptive, I kept looking at it thinking it was caramel, but nope. It looks the same and tastes different. This is straight honey. Sweet in a different way--with caramel you can get that deep rich taste as well, but not with honey. It’s a good thing the yogurt is there to mitigate the swirl a little bit, otherwise I think this would be too much honey for me.

The actual yogurt isn’t as dense as Yoplait’s, but it’s creamier. While the Yoplait took a while to be spoonable and get creamy, TCBY’s version was ready right out of the freezer. I honestly don’t know which texture I prefer. I feel like any opinion I have might be biased because I love caramel. But I can still say that I’d buy this one again.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Buffalo Day!

***This post is dedicated to my mom, whose reaction to the first buffalo we saw in Yellowstone has led us to use the code word “buffalo” for a certain four-letter expletive. Today was the day something finally clicked and I said, well, buffalo it.***

More specifically, this morning. I woke up at 5:30 and there was this empty knot feeling in my stomach that might have been hunger, so I was like, OK, here’s my chance, I’ll go have a cookie so TAKE THAT ED!

Now this is a package of crunchy white chocolate chip cookies (like the Chips Ahoy!, only the Kroger brand) that I opened last night and I ate a couple (OK, maybe like 8). So I have the cookie (one measly cookie) and I’m all proud of myself, go lay back down in bed and not two minutes later I want more cookies. So I go back to the kitchen and grab two, back to bed, before I even lay down this time I’m on my way back for some more...rinse and repeat. Eventually I just settled down on my couch, which is right next to the kitchen, you know, just in case.

Well, finally I just took the whole package with me and finished it off. Somewhere between 12 and 15 cookies, I lost count. So I tried to go back to sleep and nope, that hole is still there. Only this time I want a Quest bar.

OK, Quest bar eaten, surely that’s enough...haha, no! So out of nowhere I want toast. With butter. 
I have never actually craved toast before.
So, I made toast. And for good measure threw in the last piece of Eggo French toast from my freezer. Oh, plus the four or so handfuls of Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish during the tortuous wait for the toaster to ding.

In all, estimating, about 1,500 calories. Before breakfast. And then I ate what I normally do throughout the day, plus a pair of Pop-Tarts. TAKE THAT ED!

I’m just so freaking excited about this. See, I’ve still been fairly disordered in my thoughts and hitting a wall with seeing the minimum as a maximum or at least, don’t go more than 500 calories over sort of thing. And I’m horrible about “saving” my calories for the evening/night. Up to now, I was eating about 1,000 calories throughout the day and then the rest at night. I was, I suppose, in quasi-quasi-recovery. Somewhere between quasi and the real thing. But now it’s like a switch flipped this morning, and I just got tired of getting bigger without getting better, you know what I mean? And I’ve been scared that I’ve been underfeeding my body and so it’s still not at optimal metabolism, and still packing away fat, and all that jazz, because I’m too afraid to go all out and eat as much as it demands.

So I feel this huge sense of freedom now. I’ve promised myself that I will not restrict anything tonight. If I want to have all the food I usually do at night (which is, sort of embarrassingly almost enough to meet the minimum on its own), then, dammit, I will!

There’s also something incredibly relaxing about knowing that I can eat cookies at 5 or 4 or even 3 in the morning if I want to, so I don’t necessarily feel the need to have my before-bed ritual right now. Because the cookies will always be there, I can have them whenever I want and not ONLY before bed, so therefore I don’t HAVE to have them before bed. It seems so simple now that I can see it, that knowing you can have ALLTHEFOOD makes you not want ALLTHEFOOD.

OK, I probably lost a ton of you already because you really don’t care about my hyperactive and totally whacked-out thought process.

Anyway...there are some downsides. Like being too hyper to focus on anything today (and that includes food, for once!) for more than two minutes. Having, shall we say, some digestive issues. I feel large but at the same time not larger (yes, that’s weird, I know). And sweating bullets all day. Actually, I got to work and fifteen minutes after I sat down I had to check the thermostat because I would have sworn it was set higher than usual. But nope, it was actually a couple degrees cooler inside today because it was cloudy, and like all big companies we love huge wall-length glass windows, which of course just creates a lovely greenhouse effect. I’m sure it’s nice in the winter. :P

Gosh, see, this is what I was like living in my own brain all day! I am totally all over the place but it’s impossible to forget the biggest downside, which is the fear of being weight restored and possibly more (no idea what I weigh at the moment, but 2-3 weeks ago I was 130), at the top of the “healthy” BMI range or even slightly above it (which actually means I have the least chance of dying and, incidentally, would not have been “overweight” in 1998). And having this extreme hunger. I’ve gained my weight incredibly quickly and now eating more just scares the shit out of me. Part of me is just screaming that if I gained so fast before, I will be huge and massively overshot my set point in a week if I keep eating this much. I’m trying to counter that with the part of me that says (hopes) that now my metabolism will REALLY have a chance to speed up and I will stabilize quicker and hopefully not overshoot (as much). Because keeping on restricting (and yes, not responding to extreme hunger counts to your body as restricting, because it’s not getting what it wants) will lead to overshoot. At least that’s what I feel like.

OK, OK. Time to stop. I could go on and on around and around in circles, but for your sake and the sake of my keyboard I won’t. If you made it this far, you deserve a freaking medal. Thank you!

Happy Buffalo Day! :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Harris Teeter Chocolate Caramel Brownie Froyo

There’s a Harris Teeter right down the street from where Sydney lives, so I decided to go check it out one night on my way home (even though it’s in the wrong direction, so maybe not quite “on the way”). Since I don’t shop at Harris Teeter very often, I usually have a pretty good time finding fun ice cream that I can’t get anywhere else, which is really what I was going for. However, I just wasn’t feeling it at that particular store. You know it’s bad when you come home with store-brand frozen yogurt.

Well, OK, I bought it because of the picture on the carton. It made me want chocolate and brownies and caramel. And I’ve never tried the Harris Teeter brand (I did have some of the H.T. Trader’s premium stuff in Virginia Beach). Since Harris Teeter is a bit of a step up from where I usually shop (i.e., Kroger), I was expecting a higher-quality store brand ice cream.

Hmm. I know you can’t really tell from that picture, but it’s icy. Even the little splotches of caramel look icy. I was hoping it was just the top layer, because maybe it melted a little bit and then re-froze on the way home...but sadly, nope. You can tell it’s froyo and I don’t mean that as a compliment. It does get creamier as it melts, but you could say that about pretty much any frozen product and here, it doesn’t really mean much.

On to the taste, because if it tastes good then maybe there’s a chance I’d buy it again. The chocolate is mellow and light, rather than rich, but considering this is low fat that’s expected. But there’s something a little off about it too, like a bitterness that isn’t bitter like dark chocolate, but bitter like not-chocolate. The taste isn’t bad, it’s about on par with any other generic chocolate ice cream, but it’s not something I’m going to remember.

Sometimes the mix-ins can save a less-than-ideal base. But the brownies, while chewy to some extent, are mostly hard and stale and taste like a cheap store brownie. They’re a smallish-sized cube and there are plenty of them, and I suppose they are the star of the show, but that’s not saying very much. As for the caramel...I wouldn’t have known it was there if I hadn’t seen it, or if I hadn’t gotten a spoonful with a disproportionate amount.

So, all in all--not going to buy this again. I don’t even know whether to bother with any more Harris Teeter-brand ice cream. I haven’t had much luck so far.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Private Selection English Toffee Caramel

My first sample of Kroger’s premium ice cream brand, Private Selection, left me, if not amazed, then very satisfied. It certainly did chocolate overload very well; it’s just there are other brands that do chocolate overload better. But caramel and toffee...that’s not so common, so I had to try English Toffee Caramel.

We have toffee in Ben & Jerry’s Rockin’ Blondies or Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch. But, for some completely illogical reason, they have not mixed toffee and caramel. This is a fatal mistake on their part, but luckily Kroger has stepped in with “chocolate covered bits of crispy English toffee folded into caramel ice cream swirled with caramel sauce.” Phew, that’s almost too much to keep track of!

The short version is that this stuff was pretty undeniably awesome. I honestly can’t think of any premium brands with this combination of ingredients, and they go together so well it’s like DUH, why hasn’t anyone done this yet??

The first thing you taste is caramel. Oh my, deep deep caramel. Even if you don’t get a bit of swirl on your spoon, the base is almost as strong. In fact, I’d say the actual ice cream has a deeper note to it, whereas the swirl is much sweeter. Either way, this is a lot of caramel. Though the swirl is a thin ribbon in places, you don’t miss it because the flavor just pops.

The toffee is interesting; some of it is goopy, and some of it is what you’d expect. Either way, though, it’s really strong. If you like toffee you won’t be disappointed--but it never completely overrides the caramel, either. The chocolate coating is almost an afterthought, albeit a nice one. I’m glad they coated the toffee pieces, unlike Ben & Jerry’s, because with toffee there is such a thing as too much, and this allows the caramel to shine too. These pieces are crunchy and very similar to a Heath bar, except that they don’t stick in your teeth as much. And there are lots of them. The strange thing was that at first the toffee tasted like peanuts, and had a nutty texture as well. But I think maybe my brain was having a vacation and not connecting with my taste buds or something, because it didn’t happen again.

This is premium ice cream, but it’s not as dense as B&J’s or Haagen-Dazs. It’s still creamy, it’s just much easier to spoon out and it melts faster. Which is fine, I don’t even care, because this is one freaking good ice cream. Here’s a win for store brands!