Probiotic Power?

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about probiotics. Probiotics are apparently good little bacteria that live in your digestive tract and make sure everything’s moving smoothly. (I’ll try as hard as I can not to be crass in this post, but let’s be honest – digestive enzymes have a lot to do with POOP. Sorry. TMI. I won’t get into the details…)

Does a belly good!

I was watching some trash on TV and saw the usual commercials hawking probiotic products. Then, I was browsing in Sprouts and saw this intriguing little carton of juice called “Good Belly”. It was $3.99 and offered a money back guarantee if you take the “ 12 Day Good Belly” challenge. I chose the cranberry watermelon flavor and began my “regimen” that night. Good Belly juice tasted good, but was a little more thick than normal juice. There was a slightly powdery type of residue at the bottom of the cup that was a little unnerving, but I tried to think of it as happy little sea monkeys that would cheerfully clean my intestines.

Bottoms Up!

So how was my 12 day challenge? Let’s put it this way – things were regular, but not urgent, if you catch my drift. I didn’t notice any particular amazing changes, but I also eat greek yogurt daily. Did it transform my metabolism and turn me into a lean, mean pooping machine? No, but maybe in some secret, unidentifiable way, the helpful bacteria are cleaning up in there, whisking along fat and savoring antioxidants and nutrients.

Are you a believer in probiotics? Have you had any first hand experience or do you think it’s hocus pocus?

All Squashed Up

I like squash. Zucchini, yellow squash, butternut, acorn – it’s all pretty tasty in my book. However, there was one elusive squash that I had seen fabled across the internet in food blogs- but this sunny yellow gourd was beyond the reach of my standard suburban Ralph’s grocery store.

This squash is heavy! Don't drop it - you may just Squash your foot. Har, Har!

A new “Sprouts Market” opened up near me, and on Sunday afternoon, I walked out with a slab of bacon muenster (it’s for my dad – no, really!), a probiotic juice drink (will blog about that later), a hothouse cucumber, three tomatoes, six cartons of Wallaby yogurt (my new favorite) and a giant, yellow Spaghetti Squash! I was so excited to have found one and decided to make my version of Pasta Carbonara.

Get rid of the seeds and goopy guts.

First, I cut it in half with a giant butcher knife after Matt made his tell-tale big eyed “You’re doing something dumb look” and warned me to be “Careful!” as I attempted to hack it with my favorite’s chef’s knife. Then, because I’m lazy, I looked up how to cook it on the internet and we decided to microwave it instead of bake it. If you want to know how to do something fast, find a lazy person to do it for you!

Like Magic!

I nuked it for seven minutes on each side, cut side down. Once I took it out and let it cool for a few minutes, it was time for the shredding to commence. I took the fork tines to the soft, tender insides … and WOW!!!! It’s really like spaghetti! The strands easily lifted out of the shell of the squash, and it had a nice, fresh taste.

Can you tell I'm excited?

I had precooked three slices of bacon, a small onion, two garlic cloves and 2 cups of peas. I added the squash and gently sauteed for three minutes before serving with some grated parmesean. All I can say is YUM – this squash will be making regular appearances in our home. It doesn’t taste exactly like spaghetti, but it has a nice meaty, crunchy texture that is just bland enough to blend in nicely with other savory flavors. I’m going to try it next as mock chowmein noodles in an asian dish. Have you ever tried a spaghetti squash? Will you now?

Delicious!

PS: I like you, dear reader. Would you “like” me too? Visit http://www.facebook.com/doublechindiary and “like” my page to get post updates and general Double Chinny awesomeness.

SlimCado – When “lite” just aint right

Matt and I live near a 99c Only Store, which is pretty much one of my favorite stores EVER, ‘cuz on a weekly basis we find things like organic spring mix vegetables (Reg price at least $3), full-sized bottles of Dial Soap (reg price at least $1.50), and random, awesome things like O.P.I. Nail Polish (Reg price: $9!) and decorative gourds (Priceless, in their lack of use). And if you couldn’t tell by the name, everything is ONLY 99c!

Last week, Matt brought home another interesting 99c store find: the SlimCado! Could it be? An avocado that’s 50% less fat and has 35% fewer calories? It is. The SlimCado has a much more smooth, shiny skin than the traditional California Haas, and it’s a lot bigger. Reminds me of a dinosaur egg. It came all the way from Florida!

SlimCado before I cut it open!

It looked the same as a regular avocado when I cut it open, though the texture was slightly less creamy and a little more watery.

My, what a big seed you have.

I used my handy avocado slicer to create nice, thin slices and popped one in my mouth. Verdict? Sadly, the SlimCado is like most “light” things… disappointing. It was bland, watery and like the depressed version of the pebbly Haas – there was no buttery aftertaste, no smooth, creamy tingles dancing on my taste buds.

Slim N' Sliced, but the taste was not so nice.

However, I’m no food-waster and I know people are starving in India, so I made do with what I had. I crushed one huge clove of garlic, added three drops of Tapatio, cracked some pepper and stirred in some Himalayan Pink Salt – and it made all the difference in the world. Bland SlimCado? You were just been reborn as slightly-less-awesome-than-usual guacamole.

"Hey, I never asked you - Do you like Guacamole?" 10 points if you get that movie reference!

All in all, I’d use the SlimCado for guacamole, but probably not for salads or garnish. It’s a little too ho-hum to stand on its own. Sure, regular avocados are fattening, but they’re loaded with Omega-5s and lovely antioxidants. Plus, it’s the type of fat that makes your hair shiny and your nails strong, so in my opinion, it’s worth porking out on the full-fat version… and avocados are so damn expensive it’s not like you’re going to be eating them daily anyways!

Have you ever tried the SlimCado? Would you? What other freakish vegetable or fruit mutations have you tasted?

PS: It’s Matt’s birthday today! Happy Birthday, husband… <3

PPS: Due to my crazy work/school/life schedule, I’m probably going to be blogging 2-3 times a week. So you don’t waste your time popping by on days when I’m away, please subscribe (you can find the link on the right hand side of the page) or check in on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays. Those are the days I’ll try my berry best to post! Next week might be a little silent as I’ll be on VACATION!!! WOOHOO!