Thursday, February 14, 2008

Commercial Break

I've made some discoveries in the last few weeks that have made this food plan a little more bearable, so I thought I'd talk about them... things I've tried and liked, things I've tried and NOT liked...

The most recent discover is Ronzoni pasta.

I really, really hate wheat products. When I was a kid, I liked Wonderbread - did you ever tear the crusts off a piece of wonderbread and roll the remaining bread around in your hand til you got a little doughy ball? I loved those. My favorite sandwiches were peanut butter and marshmallow fluff or Miracle Whip and banana. (I know, I know. Lots of you are making faces at me at the moment. Or you might be nodding knowingly and thinking of your own weird concoctions... feel free to share, I always love knowing I'm not alone in my bizarre behaviors). My grandparents used to try to get me to eat Wheat Bread, and I just couldn't. I'd rather have no sandwich than a sandwich on wheat. (As a note, my grandparents were also the sort who would force you to sit at the table until you'd eaten every last FREAKING bite of something you absolutely hated, even if it meant you were at the table until 3am. If anyone in my life ever gets fried chicken livers near me again, I promise you, I will punch your lights out.) Fortunately, I only had to sit at the table one day about the wheat bread thing, and after that I got to make my own sandwich, so whatever I wanted was fine.

I don't think that's why I hate wheat bread. I always assumed, growing up, that it was something I'd like more when I was older... an acquired taste that I never acquired. Like American beer. I did eventually come to love raw tomatoes. And lima beans. (I've always loved esoteric "grown up" foods like escargot, sushi, caviar, bleu cheese, and asparagus)

There's just something about wheat bread and wheat products that are unappealing to me. I think it's the smell. If I manage to put enough mustard or tangy sauce or onions on a sandwich, and breathe through my mouth, I can eat a wheat bread sandwich. It's still forcing myself to do it, but I can.

The thing is, I don't want to force myself to eat things I don't like. And I have managed to find some white bread options that I can live with, as far as sandwiches go. Or wheat products that don't quite have the same overwhelming rotten hay smell. The Flat Out light wraps are a favorite around here. Especially the Italian Herb and Sun-dried Tomato ones.

I've tried wheat pasta. Oh, my god, I thought I was going to be sick. The rotten hay smell was not only in my bowl, but it stuck to everything. My fork reeked of it, and my fingers, and I could smell it on my own breath for hours after I ate, even having brushed my teeth. TWICE.

I sighed a lot about it, and had just come to the conclusion that I was going to have to just add in the extra point to have the white pasta, when Ronzoni came in to save the day.

Warning: It's a little stickier than regular pasta, and somehow it seems wrong to add a teaspoon of oil to the water (why get back the point I just saved??). You'll want to have your sauce ready before the pasta is, so you can just add the sauce straight to the pasta. (And stir it in immediately, instead of leaving the sauce piled on top. makes for a less picturesque presentation, but hey... can't have everything.) And the package is, like every other freaking 'healthy' product out there, more expensive than regular pasta. And only contains seven servings, instead of the typical 8.

That being said, it's quite good. We had spaghetti last night and I was much happier with it. So was Darcy. Thomas says he doesn't care, that the wheat pasta works for him.

The second - and for me, more important - discoveries I've made (or had suggested to me, thanks ladies from the WW SAHM group!) are low point cheeses that are actually edible.

Sargento has come out with two light cheese slices, and light mozzarella cheese sticks that are 1 point a stick or slice.

Now, I love cheese. I have always loved cheese. Take the freaking chocolate if you want, I don't need it, but damn, leave me my cheese. And my god, is it points expensive! Finding low points alternatives have made me very happy. And I must say, the swiss in particular, is very tasty.

I eat cheese in omelets, in sandwiches, on salad, in soups, and on bagels... Which leads me to my other cheese discovery...

Laughing Cow cheese wedges. Very squishy and spreadable, it's got slightly more "bite" than cream cheese. Which makes up, I think, for the fact that my bagels and English muffins have grown slightly less tasty. (Weight Watchers bagels and Thomas 100 calorie English muffins.) Also, these spread nicely on crackers. And at one point for two cheese wedges, these are a great snack.

I have had some bad food discoveries as well. (Not just the above-mentioned whole wheat pasta, which I gleefully threw in the trash this morning!)

Weight Watchers Yogurt. Good in theory, tasteless in practice. I want my key lime yogurt to TASTE like something, not just look green.

Progresso Light Soup. (Just 0 points!) And half your daily allowance of sodium. My christ! Which I might not mind so much, except salt is exactly what it tastes like. I have low blood pressure anyway, so sodium isn't big on my list of concerns, really, except that I don't want my food to taste like a vegetable flavored salt lick. I threw my cans out the other day because I wasn't going to eat them.

Sugar Free Dove chocolate bites. Now, don't get me wrong, a lot of the sugar-free chocolates are pretty tasty. I got rather well accustomed to them on the diabetic diet when I was pregnant. (Keep in mind that sugar free does not mean low calorie, they're only a point or two below regular chocolates... for me, it's all about the individually wrapped chocolate. Portion control!) These... are not tasty. They have a weird, dry - almost crumbly - feel in the mouth, and then leave a weird, waxy aftertaste.

So, those are my recent food discoveries. Feel free to share your own...


HappyBlogChick said...

My odd childhood meal? Saltines with butter and picante salsa. EW! Now I wonder what I was thinking, but then it was good stuff.

Our taste buds are soooo different!

I love whole wheat pasta, think the WW yogurt is a-OK (granted, I like the vanilla), I like the progresso 0 pt soup ... now, we're on the same page with the cheese, though! Good stuff!

But keep sharing your product findings, because there's always a new product out there waiting to be found. I'm always on the lookout!

Anonymous said...

For an odd childhood sandwich... I still to this day love peanut butter and cream cheese sandwiches. I think this is something that my mother came up with during the days that it seemed like all the kids were eating peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. As a kid, I didn't like marshmallows. But I did like cream cheese.

For a good food find... An easy chocolate fix is Snackwell's Devil's Food Cookies. One point per cookie. They're great for at the end of the day if you come up one or two points shy of your total, or if you just need a little chocolate fix.

I've also gotten hooked on the single serve Jello cups. Even if you don't go sugar-free, they're 1 point per cup. And (as someone kindly pointed out to me recently) if you want to save a little money, you could get those tiny disposable tupperware containers, and make your own Jello cups from the box mix. I still need to give that a shot, because I haven't been able to find single serve cups in Orange flavor.

Grumpy Chair said...

I love Ronzoni Whole Wheat pastas. That is what I buy for me (the kids won't eat it - so I finally was able to go 100% Barilla with them). My 2 oz. of dry spaghetti gives me 7 grams of fiber.

Lidian said...

Hi Lynn -

I am not too crazy about pasta anymore, but I do like chocolate. So you are welcome to the cheese, and I will have chocolate mints!

I will e mail you a bit later -


Felicia said...

OH OH OH Biscuits with honey and butter. Put the goop in the middle smash it flat and down it went YUMO! Evil but fantastic lol.

Love all the great products you found! I will be checking many of them out!

We eat whole wheat pasta when we eat pasta. Everyone seems to enjoy it but it tastes nothing like regular pasta so that was a bit of a taste bud shock at first lol.

Hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Susie said...

I did do that with white bread! Funny! I love pb and fluff!!!! Thanks for the pasta tip..We make lots of pasta eat with chili or homemade spaghetti sauce (ww friendly). I will try it. Yea..i bought lots of the soup but they do have HIGH sodium...instead I make the ww 0 point soup with low or no sodium broth. Other finds: Sesmark rice crackers or feng shui rice crackers..can have a bunch for a few pts! and these zucchini pancakes (see my blog entry today). I also like the skinny cow ice cream sandwiches. I want to start doing more ww recipes too. Thanks for the food for thought.

Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

I love peanut butter and banana sandwiches. They're not quite as tasty on wheat bread, but they'll do.

Thanks for the tip on the Ronzoni. I noticed it at the store last weekend and wondered if it was any good.

Summer said...

I love whole wheat bread (it's all we ever had, growing up) but can't stand whole wheat pasta. I've tried, honest I've tried, but I just can't do it. (I can't do brown rice, either... the bags I bought with good intentions are now at a food bank.) I do really like the Barilla Plus pasta, which is partially made with bean flours and is higher in protein and fiber than regular pasta. I'm not sure how they figure into the points system, but it's worth clipping a coupon for, I'll say that much.

Have you tried making the ronzoni without the oil? Some people's standard recipe for pasta calls for oil in the water, but I don't think it's needed if you use a big enough pot of water and stir regularly.

Other items you could try... um... my mom swears by the Wishbone Salad Spritzers. And if you get an uncontrollable craving for bacon, I can assure you that Esskay is the best of the turkey bacons, by a long shot.

Anonymous said...

LMAO...I loved the bread dough-balls...I could go through half a loaf that way. It was just so much fuuuun eating it that way.

Peanut butter and syrup was my favorite. Ugggh...makes me shudder now to think about it but I used to love it. Pure insulin-shock right there.

It took me 30+ years to be able to stomach wheat bread. I get the Nature's Own light wheat and I'm actually accustomed to it now, but it took a long time. Still haven't gotten okay with the wheat pasta though so I am going to try your Ronzoni. And I love Laughing Cow, haven't tried it on the whole-wheat bagels but what a great suggestion. The fat-free cream cheese was leaving a lot to be desired...

Thanks for sharing!


Carol said...

I laughed through your whole post!! hahaha You crack me up! I have wheat flour and when I thicken soup with it, the thought of it turns my stomach. I really can't taste a difference I think I make myself sick thinking about it. haha

Have you tried spaghetti squash in place of pasta? I don't think it would have any points but it's healthier for you anyway. :)

"vegetable flavored salt lick" HAHAHAHAHA So true!! I never buy those soups for that reason! :)

I just discovered Laughing Cow cheese and I love it. I'm a cheese freak too! Goat cheese is also low in calories - that's my favorite!