Swapped and Popped Corn

March 21, 2009

popcorn2I am swamped with work at the moment and stress-eating like mad, so when I was craving something spicy today I threw together one of my favorite recipes: spicy guilt-free popcorn.  I air-popped the kernels in the microwave, threw some spicy goodness on top and indulged without feeling a single trace of remorse because these babies are packed with flavor and not with calories!  I highly encourage messing around with the spices; this is just one that I happened to throw together today.  I really like to use India Tree’s Paloma de Colores kernels because they’re tastier and less kernel-y (and actually barely need any seasoning), but regular store-brand kernels work fine, too.  I fully intend on making this again tonight for a guilty-pleasure Twilight viewing with my friends!

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Gastronomized: Heinz One Carb Ketchup

March 18, 2009

heinz-reduced-sugar2So sue me, I love ketchup.  When someone asks “do you want fries with that?”, they’re not really referring to a burger or a hot dog, they’re referring to the massive amounts of ketchup I dip the potato-y wonders in.  Not to say that there’s much of anything in ketchup, but when I saw Heinz One Carb Reduced Sugar Ketchup, I thought I’d give it a try.  Nutritionally, the only difference between this ketchup and Heinz’s regular ketchup is that this is 5 calories per tablespoon and 1g carbs, and regular is 15 calories and 4g carbs.  It also contains sucralose instead of high fructose corn syrup.   If you’re only eating a tablespoon or so, there’s really no difference.  If you’re like me and eat your meal with your ketchup, this is a potential carb and calorie saver.

So in true oxymoronic fashion, I brought a bottle to McDick’s with me, ordered some fries and sat down to do a taste test between the original Heinz and the One Carb Heinz.  Let me tell you, there’s nothing like sitting down to eat McDonald’s fries with a bottle of reduced-carb ketchup.  The verdict?  Not much of a difference!  One Carb Heinz is still nice and thick, and despite being slightly less sweet and a little more salty it essentially tastes just like the original stuff.  If you want to add the sweetness back in it’s an easy fix: just add a packet of Splenda or something similar and you’re set (which I tried.  It worked pretty well!).

The next test: I sat down with a massive plate of Hungry Girl’s Butternut Squash Fries and dug in.  In one sentence: Best Gastronomized Swap Ever.  Completely guilt-free in every aspect and I felt like I was eating fries with real ketchup!

Stars: 5/5

Nutrition Facts:  Serving Size: 1 tbsp.  5 Calories.  0g Fat.  0g Cholesterol.  190mg Sodium.  1g Carbohydrates.  0g Protein. 0 WW Points.

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Trader Joe’s Barbeque Popped Potato Chips

March 3, 2009
The barbeque kind looks just like these, but the bag is bright orange

The barbeque kind looks just like these, but the bag is bright orange

I am always on the lookout for a way to fulfill my desire for potato chips without giving myself a heart attack from all the saturated fat I would be consuming by eating a bag of Utz everyday.  I keep coming across various forms of “popped chips” in grocery stores lately, so when I was at Trader Joe’s I snatched up a bag of Trader Joe’s Barbeque Popped Potato Chips.  What are popped potato chips?  Not fried or baked, they’re potato chips cooked under heat and pressure until they “pop”.  Apparently this means they’re much healthier than regular chips.  Side-by-side with Lay’s Barbeque Potato Chips, they contain 30 less calories for a 1 oz serving (in the case of the Trader Joe’s chips, this translates to about 19 chips) and less than half the fat.  They are also free of saturated fat and cholesterol.  They do, however, contain 20 g of carbohydrates to Lay’s 15 .  Curious, I looked at the ingredients.  The first ones named are potato flour, potato starch safflower oil and/or sunflower oil, barbecue seasoning, onion and garlic powder.  In a nutshell it sounded like a pretty darn good combination of flavors.

Assured that these would not, in fact, kill me, I gave them a try.  In one word, these are AWESOME and not lacking in flavor like the sad cardboard excuses for potato chips that baked chips are.  Each od the popped chips has a very generous amount of the barbecue seasoning on it, giving the chips the necessary bright orange color.  The seasoning had a nice smoky, spicy mesquite flavor to it.  They are roughly the same size as regular potato chips, although they are circular and slightly thicker and airier and seemingly grease-less (they do, however, still have a fantastic crunch to them).  My only complaint is that they were a little too salty, but it did keep me from eating the whole bag.  Overall though, these were absolutely incredible and have officially become my new favorite potato chip!  I will have to try the regular store version (Popchips) in comparison.

Stars: 5/5

Nutritional Information: Serving Size: 19 chips (28g).  Calories: 120.  Total fat: 4 g.  Saturated fat: 0 g.  Total Carbs: 20 g.  Protein: 1 g.  3 Weight Watchers Points

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