Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review, Recipe, Regift: A Blogging Trifecta!

How did it get to be the middle of July already? Wasn’t it just Memorial Day? Yikes! My blog to-do list keeps getting longer and the time I have to write keeps getting shorter. So I’m tripling up for this blog, offering a review of the new Amy’s Light & Lean frozen entrees, an enchilada recipe, and a giveaway of a pack of three stress-relief DVDs. I love trifectas!

Review

Bottom line, the Amy’s food is good stuff. And you know how skeptical I am about frozen entrees and processed foods.

The company – which didn’t pay me to do this – asked if they could send me some samples of their vegetarian fare, which impressed the heck out of me that someone there actually NOTICED that I am a vegetarian and very conscious of what I eat. You should see some of the emails I get from food companies. *eyeroll*

Anyway, the new Light & Lean line includes Spinach Lasagna, Pasta & Veggies, Soft Taco Fiesta, and Black Bean & Cheese Enchilada.

A friend and I made the lasagna and the pasta dishes for dinner, and we both agreed they were pretty tasty. The lasagna noodles were surprisingly delicate and the spinach had body and a fresh taste. My friend really liked the asparagus in the Pasta & Veggies and preferred the taste of the sauce over the lasagna. He also said that when he eats it again, he’d add a few more veggies to give it more texture. I agree. As with any frozen entrée, it’s always a good idea to add additional veggies since there are only so many things companies can stuff in those little boxes.

I ate the Soft Taco Fiesta the other day after a 90-minute bike ride. It had great flavor, and the beans and rice hit the spot after burning 650 calories. Coming in at 220 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein, I was pretty satisfied, although I did eat a side salad and a peach to round off the meal.

Cassie loves enchiladas and makes them every week (her recipe is below). She agreed to try the Black Bean & Cheese Enchilada, but wasn’t as impressed as I was with the other three. Cass isn’t a fan of cilantro and she said the meal was heavy on cilantro and could use more beans and cheese. She said if she were to eat this one again, she’d add sour cream, salsa, and possibly some tortilla chips to mellow out the flavor. I plan to buy this one on my next trip to the store because I love cilantro, so I’m curious.

The sodium content for each meal is just inside my comfort zone at around 500 mgs each, and each meal is 6 Weight Watcher’s PointsPlus points. The ingredient label reads like my grocery list, and there are no MSGs or GMOs (bioengineered ingredients).

I’ve never recommended a frozen entrée before, at least nothing beyond Boca veggie burgers, but I will certainly buy these and would be curious what you think of Amy’s Light & Lean line.

Recipe

Reading "I Spy" with Claire & Luca. Mae prefers to drool and laugh.
Yesterday I was at Cassie’s, and I dug out the pan of leftover enchiladas for the grandkids for lunch. I’d never had Cassie’s enchiladas before, so I took a bite. Oh. My. It was awesome. I confess I was glad when Claire and Luca left a little in their bowls when they were done. Grammy was all over that.

I think what made them so good was the Trader Joe’s taco seasoning. Much lower in sodium than other packaged taco seasonings, it has a nice spice to it without a lot of fire. I have a recipe for homemade taco seasoning that I might use when I make them to see if the taste stays the same, but I’m pretty sure it’s the TJ’s that makes them so good.

Anyway, here’s Cassie’s recipe for Lentil Enchiladas:

Place the following in a crockpot:


1 C brown lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (do not drain)
2 C water or veggie broth
Half a packet of TJ's taco seasoning


Cook on low for 6 hours or until the lentils are soft and the liquid is absorbed. About 30 minutes before stuffing the enchiladas, mix in 4 ounces of light Mexican cheese, ½ to 1 cup frozen corn and a can of black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained.


Using 10-12 whole wheat tortillas, stuff them with the mixture, top them with an additional 4 ounces of cheese and enchilada sauce (you can use salsa if you'd prefer since enchilada sauce is high in sodium) and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


A pan of these is about 8-10 servings. They’re heavy on the carbs, I realize, but they pack a good protein and fiber punch. I’ll probably cut the recipe in half, use Tumaro’s Gourmet Tortillas (they’re low in carbs), and freeze them in individual portions so I’m not tempted to eat more than a serving. Not that that ever happens…

Regift

Ugh...Blogger won't turn them right. Sorry!

As you know, from time to time I receive exercise DVDs to review and give away. Because today’s blog is in three’s, I thought I’d combine three closely related DVDs and offer them as one packaged giveaway.

If you’d like to throw your name in the hat to win this package, leave a comment below or send an email to lynn.haraldson@gmail.com. I’ll draw a winner on Saturday, July 16.

The package includes:

Yoga for Stress Relief & Flexibility.” As someone with multiple joints affected by osteoarthritis, I found this DVD to be not only doable (I struggle with most yoga moves), but relaxing. This is an excellent DVD to do just before bed or after vigorous exercise. The instructor, Ashley Turner, is calming and doesn’t rush you through moves.

Tai Chi for Beginners.” While I understand the purpose of Tai Chi, I just can’t get down with the moves. I’m too self-conscious of my knees to trust them to guide me through the moves fluidly. I get frustrated doing Tai Chi, which defeats the purpose of breath and energy flow. If you don’t have major knee issues and have been curious about Tai Chi, this DVD is a good first-timers instruction.

Spine Balance Training.” Again, with my joint issues, I wasn’t able to perform many of the moves in this Pilates-based DVD, but if I could, I would be all over this one (and probably not be giving it away…lol). With this DVD, you’ll learn “exercises that are useful to avoid backbone, back, neck and shoulder pain, reconstruct balance of the body and soul, fill you up with energy and reduce stress in the whole body.” Whew! That’s a lot for a 45-minute DVD, but Marianna Szoke makes it work. At least the parts I could do worked.

Good luck! And I promise to write more...much more...before July is over.

15 comments:

Jill said...

Thank you for the review of Amy's Light and Lean line. They sound good and being a Weight Watcher I like that they are 6 points. Adding a salad and a fruit would make for a nice meal. I can't wait to try them out.

Lap Band Gal said...

Cute babies! Please pick me for the giveaway..thanks!

Chubby McGee said...

CUTE babies! Look at those blonds. I love 'em. Super cute. Thanks for sharin'.

debby said...

I've liked all of the Amy's products that I tried. Well, not that I tried that many LOL. Anyway, I tried their cheese enchiladas a couple of years ago and they were fantastic. Sounds like they cut out a little too much cheese to lighten them up.

Cassie's enchilada recipe sounds fantastic. I love the combo of lentils and rice. I think I'll just leave the black beans out completely. Tell her thanks for sharing!

I was going to say to not enter me in the DVD giveaway, but those sound really great--just what I've been looking for actually. Enter me!

Its always good to hear from you Lynn.

Mich said...

While I will probably not try anything from the L&L line, I like Amy's Mattar Paneer very much. I add spinach, broccoli or shredded cabbage to up the volume.

There's a TJ opening in my area soon. Looking forward to seeing what this store has to offer.

Ada said...

So happy to discover your blog a couple of weeks ago - you're an inspiration!! Love the pic of your grandbabies! :-) The dvds look great; please enter my name too. xoxo

Amanda said...

Your grandkids are adorable. I'd love to win the DVDs for days I can't get to yoga class.

Lori said...

I got those Amy's meals as well. I liked the pasta and veggies, but it needed more cheese :D

val said...

Amy's are excellent. I love them too. love, Val

Unknown said...

Hi !
Thanks for the review and the recipe! I'll try both for my lunches next week :) Please enter my name in the drawing.

Theresa

Laura N said...

I always say once July 4th gets here we might as well get out the Christmas lights. The last 6 months of the year FLY.

I love Amy's meals. They have been a fast-food alternative at our house for a couple years.

I printed the recipe & can't wait to try it. Our local Mexican restaurant has heavenly fresh salsa. It would be fabulous on these. thanks for sharing.

I enjoyed your "owner's manual" post, too.

RedPanda said...

Adding my name for the give-away. Thanks!

Larry Romeo said...

Lynn,
Thanks for providing your review of Amy's Light and Lean food. This is the first I have heard of this line of food.

I just love to photo of your grandchildren. My wife and I baby sit two of our five grandchildren each day to help our children so they do not have to pay for daycare which is expensive here in Clearwater.

Good to hear that you are continuing to ride your bike to burn calories and staying in shape.

The three DVDs look exciting but at this time I do not plan to enter my name for the give away. Thanks for the offer.

jewels said...

I would love to try the yoga I am horrible at it but really want to love it.

LANA said...

Having just rejoined WW I am looking for healthy frozen meals when I don't have time to cook. I love Amy's products and will be looking for these new ones. My prayers for your brother's health. Lana