A Popcorn Fiend’s Review: Skinny Pop Popcorn

Picture to show scale. This is a giant bag, folks!

This week while husband and I roamed around Costco (him begging me to hurry up, me  distracted by 10,000 bars of soap and a barrel of cheetos as big as my head), I spotted a new face in the snack section. It lay gleaming in a bin like a shiny, oversized pillow – but it was filled with popcorn! And not just any popcorn … SKINNY POPCORN!

Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile know how much I love popcorn, so I’m kind of an expert on this topic. I bought the bag for a mere $4.99 for a sack that shamefully only lasted three days (Don’t worry – I had help), and I want to share my findings with you!

1) Love how it doesn’t have the stale, kind of styrofoam texture that most pre-popped and bagged popcorns have. It tasted light and crunchy, and was surprisingly very fresh.

2) It’s very simple – no fake cheese powder here. Just three ingredients: sunflower oil, corn, salt. Tasty and not loaded with preservatives. Two thumbs up.

135 calories for lots of crunchin'!

3) The best part was, I could have a gigantic bowl for only 135 calories. With me, volume is the key to satisfaction, and a nice big bowl was the perfect snack for studying that didn’t deplete my calorie balance for the day.

Skinny Pop didn’t send me anything to review or pay me for my opinion, I just felt like sharing this good find with all of you because I personally think snacks are one of the hardest parts of dieting. Maybe they’ll like this post and send me some popcorn for a giveaway for you! ;) Check out Skinny Pop here, and if you see it, give it a try and let me know what you think!

Big Bear Getaway Part 2

After we set up the tent and swam in the lake, it was time to EAT!!! We had originally planned on cooking dinner at the camp site, but once 4:00 creeped around, we knew it would take forever to get supplies, set up the stove and fire, and hunt and skin small woodland creatures. Ah, you WERE paying attention. Just kidding about that last part.

Happiness is a warm plate

We went to the Log Cabin restaurant, built in 1908. I had previously been here with Matt and fell in love with the friendly servers, family feel and amazing comfort food. Since all I had eaten all day was a small bag of Funyuns and a Greek yogurt, I had the calories to splurge a little bit, so I opted for a biscuit and gravy and pancakes. Carby, greasy, salty goodness. Mmmmm delicious. It was amazing. Every bite tantalized my taste buds and I thanked the breakfast gods and whatever southern granny decided to smother a biscuit with gravy. I imagine said Granny standing in the kitchen saying – “Nah, this biscuit smeared with butter just isn’t fattening enough. Let’s drench it in pork drippings, cream and sausage, too!”

Smores!

All was well and we proceeded to head back to the campsite, stuffed and happy, ready for roasting marshmallows, ghost stories, and a few adult beverages. After one pear cider, I had one s’more and a little bit of chimichurri – an amazing Argentinian concoction made by Virginia’s dad of parsley, red peppers, garlic and spices. I was full but not uncomfortable – and miraculously was somehow only over by 240 calories in MyFitnessPal. (Tip: S’mores are actually fairly low in calories if you use reduced fat graham crackers, one marshmallow, and one chocolate square. Average calories: 120)

My gnome pajamas rock my world.

We then went to sleep (I know you’re jealous of my gnome pajama pants) and I spent the night imagining raccoons circling around our tent and trying to pretend the cold, hard ground was really just my gigantic, plush cal-king bed – you know – just a harder version. Yeah, it didn’t work. This was all well and good until I woke up at 6:40 AM to the smell of campfire and the sound of chirping birds with an agonizing stomach ache. I don’t get stomach aches often, and when I do, sorry to be blunt, it’s usually because I’ve been like a rabbit and have been consuming lots n lots of veggies. But this stomach ache was something else. This stomach ache felt like a pack of wolves tearing through my large intestine. I rushed to the camp bathroom (thank you, Hanna Flat, for respecting the modern day innovations of toilets) and regretted every fattening bite I took the day before.

Sorry to be TMI, but that’s kind of what comes with the territory with this kind of blog. I have NO IDEA how all of a sudden my body is like “Yay, healthy food!” and then “OH DEAR GOD NO WHY DID YOU EAT THAT?! PAIN! SUFFERING! BLOATING!”. I really didn’t think I’d made that drastic of a change in my eating habits, but as I’ve discussed with my lovely RD, sometimes the little tickly nerve fibers in your tummy really can sensitize quickly, and react drastically to sudden changes in diet and nutrition. The stomach ache put a damper on the rest of my day, as I’d get nice little twinges of pain to remind me not to eat crap (didn’t work – I had some french fries at lunch). It lasted into Monday, and caused me to miss my nutrition appointment and get a late start to work. So now I know – just say no. Just say no, because while it feels awesome in the moment, like a kid getting his first buck from the tooth fairy, the joy and excitement wears off as soon as the moment is over (in tooth fairy kid’s case, when he spends it on a cheap toy that breaks 4 minutes after he gets it.).

The good news is, my newly acquired “aversion therapy” has kept me on track this week so far, and MyFitnessPal and I have been good friends. It wasn’t the perfect end to my Big Bear weekend, but this isn’t Hollywood, so, ya know, I’ll get over it. Are you like me in that you tend to need sweeping, grandiose physical reminders not to do something, or are you a little more tuned in to the mind/body connection? Discuss!

Big Bear Getaway, Part 1

Hanna Flat, Fawnskin & Big Bear Lake

This weekend, my grad school friends Julie, Emily, Virginia and I packed up the truck and headed southeast to Big Bear Lake. Big Bear is an awesome little alpine escape that’s a quick 2 hour drive from Los Angeles, yet feels like it’s a world away. We stayed at the charming Hanna Flat campground and had an amazing time listening to the howling wolves and staring up at the towering redwoods touching the star-studded sky.

Julie and Alyssa tackle the tent

After a two hour drive and a lunch of greek yogurt and funyuns (hey – the gas stati0n had nothing else and we tried four different exits to find food!), we arrived at our campsite and tackled challenge #1: the tent. I don’t know if there’s some of man code in my family that makes them believe that women can’t assemble tents, but both my husband and father chuckled when we described how we’d be staying in Emily’s suave six person tent. “Oh,” they said. “Have you ever assembled a tent?”. Well, no, I hadn’t, but I can make a fierce grilled cheese… so I’m pretty sure i can do anything. (Confidence. I has it.) Here’s photographic proof that I helped assemble the tent – and no tents, tools or woodland creatures were harmed in the process. And yes, it was a pain to assemble but – totally bearable. Kind of like getting a tattoo. Annoyance < Awesomeness.

Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake

Once the tent was properly set up, we donned our bathing suits and headed over to the gorgeous Boulder Bay. Boulder bay is surrounded by multi-million dollar cabins with huge bay windows overlooking the mountains and lake. It’s pretty much paradise. Emily and Virginia bravely swam in the cold water while Julie and I skipped rocks, chatted and soaked up the sun.

 

Log Cabin Restaurant has so many good eats!

After a couple hours swimming, we headed to my favorite Big Bear establishment, the Log Cabin restaurant. After sharing our ghost photo from last time with the management (much to their delight) we ordered a delicious dinner and headed back to our campsite. Stay tuned for the next post to read about my big bear tummy, and why I didn’t get this blog posted today. (Let’s just say that after the 10,786th time this has happened, I might finally be realizing that eating clean for a long time and then eating junk is a recipe for disaster.) Did you have a good weekend too? What’d ya do?

Fun Friday Finds

Hey Double Chinners! Happy Friday! One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to browse the interwebz for various items that make me smile. I can’t actually buy them because my husband will divorce me if I buy one more salad bowl, but, it’s basically just frivolous window shopping. In particular, I love funky kitchen wares or novelty food items. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite recent finds, shall we? (Most of these came from Fab.com – my new favorite daily deal site. If you sign up, use the link right there – I get magical unicorn points, and you get something cool too.)

Source: amazon.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

These melamine bee plates are awesome because they’re pretty much unbreakable, and they have BEES on them! You know how I feel about bees!

Source: fab.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

While no one in my house *needs* a nightlight, these would be super fun in a guest bedroom or colorful bathroom at night – or even for lighting up the kitchen for a midnight snack. They’re super sweet looking, and you get all the gummy goodness with no cavities!

Source: fab.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

Unfortunately I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I’d totally buy one of these cool hand-painted Indian dog dishes. I love the little bird on the front and how it’s enamel so it won’t chip or break.

Source: fab.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

I’m a sucker for anything strawberry – and this heavy duty ceramic mixing bowl looks like it could handle being in a sink full of dishes or being broiled to death. I love the cute vintage feel of it, too.

Source: squidoo.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

A good peeler is hard to find, but a good, cute peeler is next to impossible. However – I guess it doesn’t really matter if a peeler is cute, but this one is silly and fun and might make the horrible task of peeling mangoes slightly more bearable.

Source: fab.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

It’s a pickle wearing spurs. What more can I say?

Do you like to “window shop” online? What are your favorite haunts?

Weekly Weigh In #5 – The Big Bad Bloat

I went in to my Monday morning weigh-in knowing and expecting I’d be up a couple of pounds from the weekend’s indiscretions – what I didn’t expect was that the scale would blow up with 4.5 extra pounds! Thankfully, my saintly registered dietitian talked me through it, and I was able to understand that it’s mathematically impossible to gain 4.5 pounds in three days. To do that, I would have needed to consume and not burn off an extra 15,750 calories – the equivalent of three triple-layer buttercream birthday cakes.

While it wouldn’t be far-fetched to gain an extra pound from the overeating I did (but even that’s a stretch, as I don’t think I overate 3,500 calories – my fitness pal said it was only 1100!), 4.5 pounds is not likely. But it isn’t far fetched to gain as much as 7 pounds in bloating, sometimes overnight! My body hasn’t been used to salt and oil – and a meal like fried chicken was just enough to puff me up like a blowfish. The RD’s recommendation was lots of water to help beat the bloat, and to get movin’, as aerobic activity can also help diminish puffiness and swelling.

I’m not going to let this little setback screw up my downward trend – and now I know that even a little bit of “cheating” can really de-rail what the number on the scale is. The good news is that there are some non-scale victories showing up – like the fact that my jeans are loose, I feel more energized and I’m getting full faster. Now I feel motivated to do really well this week, and not let the temptation of junk get the best of me. Do you find when you splurge a little bit that you bloat up like a beach ball too?

Puffily yours,

 

Weekend Wrap Up

Hey everybody! How was your weekend? Mine was good! My sister was in town with her friend Christian, and we had a nice relaxing weekend full of gardening, good eats and hanging around having good conversations. We started it off with some funfetti cake with homemade buttercream frosting… and then we went to our favorite Cajun place for some soul food. I had fried chicken, but only made it through one piece before my stomach warned me to stop! (Again – remember that whole healthy eating and then junk food thing? Crazy!)

Practicing Cake Decorating with the Star Tip!

And then the next day, we all had dinner at Stonefire Grill, where I got this delicious grilled salad with artichoke hearts, avocado and tri-tip.

Grilled salad from Stonefire Grill

After dinner, we saw Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. This was a quirky little film with lots of typical Anderson-esque eccentricness. It’s worth seeing if you’re into sort of campy, kitschy films. After the movie we couldn’t pass up a treat at Yogurtland, where I got toasted coconut frozen yogurt topped with strawberries – my favorite!

Happy Sisters after Frozen Yogurt

Today we lazed around for a bit until April and Christian headed back up the coast to Northern California. I love having visitors! I didn’t do terrible this weekend with my food, but I definitely went over my calorie count on Saturday and Friday night. I’m going to guess I’ll be up a bit on the scale tomorrow, but I know the damage isn’t irreparable. To make this liveable, I have to keep in mind that it’s going to happen from time to time, especially if I am going to opt for fried chicken over a dry grilled pork chop at a Cajun restaurant (Can you blame me?). Try as I might to be a perfectionist at other areas in my life, I’m willing to take the weight loss path a little bit slower and a little bit less perfect to still enjoy eating.

However…. enjoying eating can definitely still happen with amazing, yummy, HEALTHY food.. like our dinner tonight! A grilled boneless skinless chicken breast, Israeli cous cous, and a variety of grilled vegetables. Holy deliciousness – check this out – and for only 400 calories! Yum, Yum, Yum!!!!

Delicious and healthy 400 calorie dinner

How was your weekend? What did you eat?

PS: Want a chance to win this awesome tote bag packed with some of my favorite things? “Like” the Double Chin Diary on Facebook to help us reach 150 fans – and then we’ll host a drawing!

Bacon and Egg Tote Bag!