Monday, October 29, 2007

Diet Pepsi Jazz: Caramel Cream

I don't really care for diet sodas, however, I don't care for the the empty calories of regular soda, so I am willing to try diets in hope that I find ones that taste good and don't have an aftertaste. My first drink of Diet Pepsi Caramel Cream left me with two impressions 1: its pepsi; 2: with a different aftertaste. The caramel flavor doesn't really come through as you are drinking it, but afterwards, you can taste it. It is very light and not unplesant. The good part is that it covers up the usual diet drink taste. I can't say that I am a huge fan of it, but given the choice between regular diet pepsi and this flavor, I would choose this one every time. (0 calories; 0g fat; 0g carbs; 0g protein; 2% sodium)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Selling a car to CarMax

I have now sold two cars to Carmax and both times the experience was favorable. It takes longer than I expected to sell the car (and buying a car always takes me longer than I expect too, I wonder why my expectaions are so far off). They also always seem to ask for documentation that I don't have with me and I have to go home and get it. I think the documentation they need varies from state to state, so I won't list it here.

The first time I got an estimate, but didn't sell my car immediately. It took about an hour for me to get through the line and get the estimate. I then had to get a replacement title (the one I had still listed a leinholder) Actually selling it took another hour and a half or two hours. They had to do a re-inspection to make sure I hadn't damaged it in the intervening day, then officially buy it, then I had to wait around some more while the made out a bank draft (like a check, but subtely different) In the end, they offered a little more than I expected. When I bought my new car, they had asked if I wanted to trade in, and when I said I was going to get an estimate at carmax, they told me that carmax usually could beat their offers.

The second time, there was again missing paper work, but I didn't bother with getting an estimate first, since that didn't seem to save me much time. When everything was in order it again took a couple of hours to get through everything, and they again offered more than I was expecting.

Aside from the time it takes, and never seeming to have the right documentation, selling a car to carmax is fairly easy, and I would recommend doing that instead of trading it in when you buy a new car. I haven't bought a car from them, so I can't tell you if the prices are fair or how long it takes. Also note, that if you sell them your car, you need an alternate way to get home.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mini Oreo: Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Like regular Oreos, only smaller. crisp chocolate cookies with creamy white filling. The smaller size gives a different taste to the cookie. There is much more cookie and less filling. Wether or not this is a good thing depends on your perspective. If you liek the cookie part, this is a great thing. If double-stuff oreos are your bag, then these are not for you. I also think they are less fun, there isn't much point to taking them apart and eating the filling first. Personally, I like the filling, so I am going to stick to the full-sized oreos.

Smart Ones: Tuna Noodle Gratin

One of Weight Watchers' Smart Ones classic favorites microwave meals. Chunks of albacore tuna and linguini in a creamy sauce topped with toasted breadcrumbs. The thick layer of breadcrumbs may have been toasted to start with, but by the time the microwave is done with them, they are soggy. The sauce is creamy and pleasant. It would be better if it were just the slightest bit thicker. The chunks of tuna are small, hardly chunks, but firm and tuna-like. There are peas and celery slices mixed in. You can taste the pepper, which keeps the dish from being too mild. The salt content is a bit high at 33% of the recommended daily value. This TV dinner met met my expectations. It isn't outstanding, but it is pretty good, and a nice change of pace from the standard chicken and beef microwave entrees. (250 calories; 4.5g fat; 37g carbs; 14g protein; 33% sodium; 5 weight watchers points)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Smart Ones: Broccoli and Cheddar Roasted Potatoes

One of Weight Watchers Smart Ones Classic Favorites microwave meals. Roasted russet potatoes topped with broccoli and cheddar cheese sauce. There was a lot of cheese sauce, which is good. Cheese sauce will cover up minor problems. The sauce was good, cheesy and not to thick or too thin. It sticks to the potatoes and brocolli just enough. The potatoes were a bit dry, but the cheese sauce takes care of that. The brocoli was good, a little bit crispy, not soggy at all. I was disappointed though that the picture show the brocoli being mostly tops, but mine was almost entirely stems. The entree comes pretty well mixed together and it is pretty good overall. One thing to note, it isn't vegetarian. Even though there are no chunks meat, it is made with chicken and beef stock. (220 calories; 6g fat; 34g carbs; 9g protein; 20% sodium, 4 weight watchers points)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

BabySmart Cooshee Booster Classic

The Cooshee Booster claims to be more comfortable for your kid so they stay put. I can't tell you if it is more comfortable, but I rarely have trouble when my child is in it. This booster seat is a single piece of molded foam that is brightly colored. The foam is firm, but a little bit yielding. I haven't had any trouble with it sliding around, even though there are no straps. Since there are no seams it is easy to wash with a cloth or sponge. I have had good luck using it, the only small negative is since it has a couple of inches of foam at the back, and the way my chair's back is, sometimes my kid leans back pretty far, causing spilled food (plastic bibs with pockets are great.) It also claims to be portable, and though it is light, it is also fairly bulky since it doesn't fold. View at Amazon

Monday, October 15, 2007

No Pudge: Fudge Brownie Mix

No Pudge makes a fat-free brownie mix that you just add yogurt to and cook. The brownies come out a little bit cake-like, more-so than most brownies, but still more brownie than cake. They are also delicious, you wouldn't guess they have no fat in them. They are rich, chocolatey and a little chewy. You have to be careful not to confuse fat-free with low calorie. These have just as many calories as normal brownies. Each serving is a 2x2.66 inch square and has 120 calories. Of course, if you don't use fat-free yogurt the end result will have some fat. (120 calories; 0g fat; 28g carbs; 2g protein; 8% sodium)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

California Tortilla: Tacos

California Tortilla is a small chain of restaurants in Maryland specializing in burritos. They have many non-traditional burritos as well as salads and tacos. One selling point is that they have at least 30 different hot sauces you can put on your food. I tried the tacos, I ordered one chicken and one beef taco. A warm flour tortilla filled with Monterey jack cheese, lettuce and fresh salsa, and of course, the meat of your choice. The beef taco was ground beef with taco seasonings. It was reasonable but not outstanding. The same can be said for the chicken. Overall they are decent tacos, but they were lacking the spark that would make them unique.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Eating Right: Five-grain Beef and Vegetables

Eating Right is Safeway's house brand of healthier food.
This microwave meal has chunks of seasoned beef in a n asian inspired brown sauce, a whole grain rice side dish and a serving of mixed vegetables. The rice was a little gummy as whole-grain rice usually is. It is a mix of 5 different types of rice, giving it a more interesting flavor and texture. The beef was suprisingly tender, the sauce had a hint of sweetness. It was clearly a sauce, not a gravy. The vegetables were a little disapointing. There were plenty of them, and a nice mix of green beans, red and yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions, but they were limp and watery. Overall this tv dinner was good. I liked that they tried something a bit different with the rice and the beef was good too. Bonus points for keeping the sodium below what most frozen meals have. (290 calories; 5g fat; 45g carbs; 15g protein; 16% sodium; 5 weight watchers points)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Eating Right: Lemongrass chicken

Eating Right is Safeway's house brand of healthier food. This microwave meal has white meat chicken in lemongrass sauce with brown rice and mixed vegetables. The chicken was good, moist and tender and well soaked with the lemongrass sauce. The brown rice was a little bit gummy, but when mixed with the lemongrass sauce was quite good. You could still taste the rice, as well as a hint of the sauce and the stickiness was gone. The vegetables were more of an accent than a serving of vegetables, there was a piece of brocolli, corn, red peppers and shreds of carrots. The flavor of the dish was very mild, I would really have liked a stronger sauce. Overall this tv dinner was decent, but didn't stand out. (230 calories; 7g fat; 26g carbs; 16g protein; 21% sodium; 5 weight watchers points)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Eating Right: Mediterranean Style Chicken

Eating Right is Safeway's house brand of healthier food. This microwave meal is tender white meat chicken, tomatoes, yellow bell peppers and zucchini with whole-wheat linguini in a flavorful sauce. The chicken is, as advertised, tender. The pasta came out good, not over cooked or anything. The bell peppers and zucchini were slightly overcooked, but not bad. There were also green and black olives in the dish. the sauce, while it did have a distinct flavor, it wasn't enough to add much to the dish. The sauce was also watery. Overally, it wasn't bad, but nothing distinctive either. They would have to improve the flavor before I would recommend this tv dinner. (230 calories; 6g fat; 30g carbs; 17g protein; 21% sodium; 4 weight watchers points)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Mountain Dew: Game Fuel

Currently in a dark, Halo3 inspired can. Mountain dew with with an invigorating blast of citrus cherry flavor. This tastes alot like Mountain Dew: Code Red, with citrus that gives it a slightly sharper flavor. If you liked Code Red, you will probably like this too. I liked this flavor, it is distinctive, it doesn't taste like other sodas (or regular mountain dew). It is of course, sweet and carbonated and has Brominated Vegetable Oil (is that a good thing?) (170 calories; 46g carbs; 9g protein; 3% sodium; per 12oz can)