REVIEW: Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt

Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt

Winter is coming.

And now is the time to prepare.

Because, alongside the vanishing flip-flops, shorter days, and temporary extinction of Super Soakers comes the Annual Freezer Hibernation, that distressing time of year when the ice cream companies swipe the shelves of their limited-time summer bounties, taking with them their Samoas and S’mores as the Good Humor Trucks mosey out into the weary horizon with the anticipation of a predicted dip in ice cream consumption.

However, I also know that, within this magnificent world, there exists a league of talented individuals: the few, the proud, the bat-crazy, dairy-lovin’, cream-o-vore daredevils who dive into the comforting frozen dairy treat smack in the middle of a snowstorm February.

If you happen to look like a forlorn bulldog on the night of the winter solstice as you press your face to the glass in the frozen dessert aisle, fear not, oh wonderful cream-lovin’ crazy! Hope may just be on the horizon! For it seems that those Healthy Choice humans are setting aside their microwave ways and diving into the world of frozen yogurt.

In my domineering obsessions for chocolate and peanut butter, seldom do I gush about the glories of vanilla, and yet vanilla has a certain flexibility and persistence that allows it to transcend the average, holding strong as the backdrop to a barrage of toppings. Fudge, fruit, cones, cups, cookies, and cravings of all sorts can meander their way into vanilla and create a brand new concoction and transform the simple, delicate flavor of vanilla into a new creation.

Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt Cup

As a result, I’m guilty of plundering the humble vanilla bean with an abundance of other toppings, mixing and melding and masking away at the taste of the gentle black flower. I decided last week that it has been for too long that I have swept vanilla into the passenger seat. For my first tasting, I am going to let the yogurt stand alone, void of decoration or ornaments.

Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt Warning

Come with me, little non-microwavable vanilla ice cream cup, and let us see if the world will smile.

First off, my freezer is so cold it could freeze a bottle of vodka into a stone, so I’m going to set this first cup out for about 15 minutes so as to allow the ice cream melt into the “semi-melt” stage, which might be described as “gloopy” if gloopy were a word. But feel free to defrost to your own liking due to the strength of your freezer and the breadth of your inner ice cream patience (mine happens to be a very short).

(And she dives in with the multi-colored spoon)

Whoa.

My past experience with vanilla ice cream tends to put my taste buds into a state of melancholy despair, leaving my mouth coated in a film of milky vanilla water, but this! This tastes of hope! Hope with hints of honey and caramel! And it even holds a tang that tinges on…is that cheesecake?? Because, if it is, he’s welcome to the join the parade.

With the addition of Greek yogurt, I feared this tang would snake its way into the realm of sour, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s quite a diplomatic tang: neither too strong nor too soft. Thank you, dear vanilla bean, for resolving your flavor contrasts in such a peaceful and delicious manner.

A main kick that knocks me off the ice cream cart is the presence of freezer burn as it invades across the spine of an overly whipped and/or overly watery ice cream landscape. Not so for these little cups. They’re dad-gum creamy. Daisy, the happy Healthy Choice cow, should be pleased with her work here.

Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt Closeup

Look at that creamy goodness (yup, those are little bitty vanilla bean specks).

Some ice creams make you feel sad, frumpy, and powerless, but not these bounties. Standing at 100 calories per cup, each vanilla-studded miracle has four grams of protein, and even have 10 percent calcium, thus giving you the right to celebrate with flips on the monkey bars with your calcium-fortified bones. What’s more, you’re equipped with three bowls of that empowerment to charge you forth during the rest of your day, and, indeed, you should eat all three: recent studies show that eating Greek frozen yogurt will make you a movie star, which may or may not be something I just made up. I’ll let you decide…

One of the elements that distinguishes the human being from the platypus is the human’s ability to undergo the artist’s cycle of the creation and destruction, and, while I sometimes wish I were a semi-aquatic mammal, I could not be more grateful for this ability as I decided to exploit that human skill on a second tasting. I went with a cone option and melted a little chocolate inside the cone to create a candy shell. I then emptied out the Healthy choice ice cream on that sucker and crunched in. It was divine. Of course, the possibilities don’t stop at cones. You could add some toasted hazelnuts and fudge or strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Or make an ice cream sandwich. Or an affogato. Add ginger cookies. Rainbow chip cookies. Relish in your creative capacity! For three whole cups! Create! Destroy! Repeat!

Since it was hanging around before the Aztecs, I imagine the vanilla bean to be a flower of great wisdom, and the benevolence of the simple flavor present in this frozen yogurt spreads that wisdom, reminding me that nothing need be pushy or aggressive to be strong. With the outgoing supply of summer ice creams, I’m relieved to know that I don’t have to wait for vanilla to come into season as this curiously wonderful little cup, indeed, has crept its non-microwave-safe way into my life and made me smile. Keep up the good work, vanilla.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 100 calories, 15 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 135 milligrams of potassium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt
Purchased Price: $2.99 (with a coupon)
Size: 3 4-ounce cups/box
Purchased at: Food Emporium
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Vanilla. Creamy. The taste of hope. Cheesecake. Calcium. Single-serving cups. Peaceful diplomacy. Multi-colored spoons. Gloopy. Bat-crazy cream-o-vores. Create! Destroy! Repeat!
Cons: Absence of chocolate option. Ice cream truck hibernation. Forlorn bulldogs. I’m not a platypus.

NEWS: Healthy Choice Gets Inspired by ‘Top Chef’ and Healthy Choice

Healthy Choice Grilled Chicken Marinara Cafe Steamers

Do you watch Top Chef and think to yourself, “Damn, I want to try what they made, but licking my television isn’t helping.” Well, pretty soon you’ll be able to taste Top Chef-inspired meals in microwaveable form, thanks to a partnership between Healthy Choice and Top Chef.

The Top Chef-inspired line of Healthy Choice Café Steamers come in eight varieties:

Barbeque Steak with Red Potatoes – Beef with roasted potatoes, vegetables and uncured bacon in a whiskey BBQ sauce. (Nutrition Facts: 330 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.)

Chicken Fresca – Chicken tenderloins with red skin potatoes & vegetables in a Chardonnay wine sauce. (Nutrition Facts: 240 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 570 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 16 grams of protein.)

Chicken Linguini with Red Pepper Alfredo – Chicken tenderloins with linguini & broccoli in a roasted red pepper Alfredo sauce. (Nutrition Facts: 260 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 510 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, and 22 grams of protein.)

Chicken Margherita with Balsamic – Chicken tenderloins with angel hair pasta, roasted garlic & tomatoes in a balsamic vinaigrette sauce. (Nutrition Facts: 320 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 600 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 22 grams of protein.)

Grilled Chicken Marinara with Parmesan – Chicken tenderloins with whole grain penne & broccoli in a zesty marinara sauce. (Nutrition Facts: 280 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 570 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.)

Grilled Chicken Pesto with Vegetables – Chicken tenderloins with rotini pasta, zucchini, & spinach in a basil pesto sauce. (Nutrition Facts: 310 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 550 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 21 grams of protein.)

Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean with Rice – Grilled eggplant & vegetables, whole grain & barley, and olive oil in a mild tomato sauce. (Nutrition Facts: 230 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 600 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein.)

Roasted Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms – Chicken tenderloins with whole grain penne, asparagus & sauteed onions with marsala wine sauce. (Nutrition Facts: 240 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 420 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 18 grams of protein.)

While all these varieties sound good, they also sound familiar. Very familiar. After doing several Google searches, I found Healthy Choice already has Café Steamers in some of the same varieties, like Roasted Chicken Marsala, Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean, Grilled Chicken Marinara, Chicken Margherita, and Grilled White Meat Chicken & Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce. Strange.

Healthy Choice Top Chef Inspired Café Steamers will be popping up in the frozen food aisle later this month.

Source: Bravo TV website

REVIEW: Healthy Choice Rotini & Zesty Marinara Sauce Fresh Mixers

I once thought about following in the footsteps of Morgan Spurlock and make a documentary called, “Super Slim Me,” which would involve me eating nothing but Healthy Choice meals for 30 days straight to see if I would lose weight and be healthy. My freezer would be a green box sea of Healthy Choice frozen meals and ice cream bars; my cupboard would be filled from top to bottom with Healthy Choice soups, pasta sauces, and breads; and my trash can would be filled will circular sheets of plastic with vent slits in them.

But that dream died a horrible death when I determined that it was impossible for me to do what Spurlock does so easily — make movies and grow that Hulk Hogan/70’s porn star facial hair. Nowadays, whenever I eat something from Healthy Choice, all I do is reminisce about what could’ve been, but these Healthy Choice Rotini & Zesty Marinara Sauce Fresh Mixers have got me thinking about buying some Rogaine for my face and trying to create my documentary again.

The Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers are a clever idea because they’re a microwaveable meal that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen and can conveniently be kept in your desk drawer; away from dickheaded co-workers who steal your frozen meals from the company refrigerator, even if it has your name written on it in big black Sharpie pen letters. However, they involves more physical labor than what is necessary for a frozen meal. The plastic packaging consists of a large container that holds the rotini pasta, a smaller container in the large container that holds the marinara sauce, and a lid that has a bunch of holes. The smaller container is removed from the large container, water is added to the large container, the lid is placed back on, and then microwaved for three and a half minutes. The holes on the lid turn the container into a colander when you drain the water. Then the smaller container of sauce is microwaved for 30 seconds. Once that’s done, the sauce is poured with the rotini and you get to enjoy a meal that you worked on harder than you should have.

The Rotini & Zesty Marinara Sauce was pretty tasty, although the serving size probably won’t satisfy those who are bigger eaters. The rotini was cooked well and the marinara wasn’t too zesty and had a nice slight onion flavor to it. There was enough sauce to coat all the pasta, but since it comes in a separate container you have the power to put whatever amount of sauce you want.

The biggest problem I have with the Healthy Choice Rotini & Zesty Marinara Sauce Fresh Mixers is that the containers are made out of a plastic I can’t recycle here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If I do my documentary and eat Healthy Choice meals for 30 days, I’ll probably have enough plastic containers to fill a landfill, and that would not be worth growing Hulk Hogan/70’s porn star facial hair for.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package – 300 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 600 milligrams of sodium, 930 milligrams of potassium, 56 grams of carbs, 7 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein, 10% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, and 15% Iron.)

Item: Healthy Choice Rotini & Zesty Marinara Sauce Fresh Mixers
Price: $5.25 (retails for $3.49)
Size: 6.95 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tasty. Simple to make. No refrigeration or freezing necessary. Excellent source of potassium. Low fat. 7 grams of fiber. Hulk Hogan/70’s porn star facial hair.
Cons: Serving size might be small for bigger eaters. Plastic is difficult to recycle. More labor intensive than frozen meals. High in sodium. Asshat co-workers who steal lunches.

REVIEW: Healthy Choice Beef Franks

Healthy Choice Beef Franks

I haven’t eaten hot dogs in a while. I don’t know if it was because of my fear of increasing my already dangerously high cholesterol levels or if I had an extreme case of subconscious homophobia.

It’s most likely the latter, because I like my gay friends. Wait! I like them, but not in that way. You know what I’m saying, right? I really like my gay friends. Wait! Um… Dammit!

I LOVE BOOBIES!!! I LOVE BOOBIES!!!

Well the other week, while shopping at the national grocery store chain I shop at, I noticed the Healthy Choice Beef Franks were on sale. I swear they NEVER seem to go on sale. I honestly believe that the store doesn’t want me to be healthy, because the Healthy Choice Beef Franks almost NEVER go on sale, but those powdered sugar-coated brownie bites down the aisle are ALWAYS on sale.

Being the healthy shopper that I try to be, I compared the nutritional values of other products. The Healthy Choice Beef Franks had two or three times less fat and cholesterol than its “non-healthy” counterparts. This made me hesitant about picking them up, because I didn’t want to relive my experience with tofu dogs.

Figuring that there’s no way they could be worse than the tofu dogs, I picked up the Healthy Choice Beef Franks. However, when I picked them up from the refrigerated case, there was something strange about them, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Oh well.

I continued shopping and eventually ended up in the bread aisle, where I picked up a pack of eight hot dogs buns. I looked at the buns and a light bulb suddenly turned on in my head. Then it went dim. Then I looked at the buns again and the light bulb turned on again. Then it went dim again. Finally, after hitting my head against the shopping cart a few times, the light bulb stayed on and I said to myself, “Holy crap! Since when did hot dogs start coming in a pack of eight?”

Back in the day, I remember that hot dogs came in a pack of ten and everyone used to complain about how the number of buns in a pack and the number of hot dogs in a pack were uneven.

I wondered if this was the case with all of the wieners, so I zipped my shopping cart all the way to the other side of the store, narrowly missing several other shoppers and discovered that most of the hot dogs now come in packs of eight.

When I got home, I immediately started to boil water for the beef franks. About 10 minutes later, I was enjoying them.

I have to say that these Healthy Choice Beef Franks are pretty damn tasty for something that’s supposed to be healthy.

Thanks to Healthy Choice, I think can start eating wieners again.

Oh wait, that didn’t sound right.

Thanks to Healthy Choice, I can start enjoying wieners again.

That didn’t sound right either. Dammit!

I LOVE BOOBIES!!! I LOVE BOOBIES!!!

Item: Healthy Choice Beef Franks
Purchase Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Low-fat, high in taste. Comes in a pack of eight wieners. I LOVE BOOBIES!!!
Cons: Still a little high in sodium, but that’s probably what gives it its taste. Hardly ever goes on sale.