PopChips Tortilla Chips Giveaway!

Enter for your chance to win a case of Popchips tortilla chips!

When I was in college, my fabulous dietitian had samples of PopChips in her office. I very clearly remember taking a sample, because hey, who doesn’t love free stuff, but thinking “Oh boy, another low fat fakey.” Well, I was wrong – because the crunchy, salty potato-y goodness of PopChips kept me coming back. I’ve been a fan of them for several years and usually replenish my stash at Costco, and my favorite flavor is definitely the BBQ. My husband even likes them, and that’s saying a lot as he is definitely a fan of good old fashioned fatty boom boom BBQ potato chips. (Who’s not, right?!)

A happy girl with a happy PopChips snack at FitBloggin’ 12!

This year at FitBloggin’, I was psyched to get to try out the new PopChips Tortilla Chips! There are four flavors – Nacho Cheese, Ranch, Salsa and Chili Limon. My favorites are definitely ranch and chili limon – they’re slightly spicy, salty and tangy and are perfect on their own. With half the fat of fried or flavored tortilla chips and 0 grams of saturated fat, these are a chip you can feel good about eating. I also love that they’re all natural – they’re Non-GMO and have no preservatives or fake flavors and colors. I think this goes a long way in snacking, because I don’t feel as “heavy” when I eat natural snacks. My only request to PopChips is that they make a plain tortilla version – I’d love to have a lower calorie tortilla chip for guacamole or salsa or light nachos.(Nerdy industry sidenote: They have the cutest writing on the bags. Props to their copywriter and marketing comms team! I’m so much more inclined to buy a lighter food product if the attitude is fun! (I know, I’m weird.))

Nacho Cheese PopChips – a lighter version of Doritos that I think taste better! These would be great crunched up in a lightened up Taco Salad. Yum, I might make that tonight!

Today, you get to enter for a chance to try tortilla PopChips for yourself – because PopChips has generously offered to give away a case of PopChips Tortilla Chips to one lucky Double Chin Diary reader! To enter, leave a comment below telling me which flavor you’d most like to try (Salsa, Ranch, Nacho or Chili Limon), and if you’re feeling lucky, score additional entries by “liking” popchips on Facebook, following PopChips on Twitter and sharing this giveaway with your friends on Twitter. (Please use RaffleCopter to tell me you did it – embedded below.) The contest will end at midnight on Friday, October 12, and one lucky US reader will win by random drawing – so get to it!

Let’s get poppin’! Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Belly Flop in the Kitchen: Paneer

You know how there’s always that one thing you want to try in the kitchen, but you never get around to? Well, today I attempted something I’ve wanted to make for a long time – homemade Indian Paneer! Paneer is a very simple farm cheese made from milk and some sort of acid component – you can use lemon juice, vinegar or yogurt. The steps were simple – heat 2% milk until boiling, add yogurt, and stir until curds separate from whey. Then drain the mixture in cheese cloth. This part was easy enough, and I felt like Mario Batali with boobs as my homemade cheese drained in the kitchen sink.

The cheese drained and then I got ready to cut it into cubes – so far so good.

Freshly made paneer

Like any good chef (or hungry person), I sampled the fruits of my labor and was pleasantly surprised with the simple, milky taste of the cheese – and the fabulous squeak squeak as I chewed. I cut it into cubes to use in my recipe for dinner.

Paneer was a success! ... So far.

I decided to follow the Paupered Chef’s Matar Paneer recipe, and I diligently ground up ginger, onion and garlic in my trusty food processor. Do you have a food processor? If you don’t, you should get one, because my food processor is hands down one of my top three favorite kitchen accessories/appliances; along with my lime squeezer and OXO vegetable peeler. I browned the paneer and set it aside, continuing to mix all of the other ingredients. The recipe was coming together nicely, filling my house with aromas of India.

After everything was cooked and mixed, the recipe said to add the paneer to the mixture and let simmer gently for 20 minutes. I placed the paneer in and noticed it was starting to crumble a little bit, but I didn’t think too much of it. Unfortunately before I even knew what was happening, the paneer fell apart and disentegrated into tiny little crumbly curds. Sad, sad, sad. The curry still tasted fine, but it definitely wasn’t good. I was so bummed! There’s nothing worse than putting a lot of time and energy into a new dish and then having it be a total belly flop at the end. I ended up tossing the whole dish, because I just couldn’t get over the grainy texture and mismatched flavor. Lame.

The finished product - Matar Paneer

However, I did have one kitchen success today – homemade salsa with veggies from my garden. Lime juice, green pepper, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, tomato, garlic, salt – that’s all you need for an amazing homemade salsa.

Garden Grown Salsa Saves the Day

So yeah – unfortunately my first paneer recipe was a flop. I’m going to try it again though, and this time, let the curds and whey soak longer, and avoid cooking the finished product as long in a recipe. I hate it when a new recipe turns out sucky, but I have to remember that that’s part of learning the cooking and kitchen process. Stuff gets screwed up all the time – and even master chefs have belly flops every once in awhile. (Usually all my belly flop recipes come from Pinterest!) What was the last kitchen belly flop you had?

Tangy Tomatillo Salsa

I’m a fan of zero point recipes, and I’m also a fan of trying new things. On Saturday as I was cruising the farmer’s market, I noticed these beautiful purple tomatillos. I asked the vendor why they were purple and she told me purple tomatillos are very sweet. For $2, I was sold, and threw them into my bag to be made into a tangy salsa. (FUN FACT: Tomatillos are part of the GOOSEBERRY family and come from the family of nightshade plants, like tomatoes. (Have you heard of deadly nightshade? it’s what Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas slips into her vial. I love that movie.)

Purpliscious

Here’s what you need:

1 Pound-ish of Tomatillos, purple or green
1/4 large onion, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves if you want to keep the vampires away (1 will do fine if not)
1 large handful of cilantro (the more the merrier if you’re feeling lean and green)
1 lime (lemon will do in a pinch)
Sea salt (a staple in every kitchen!)
Pepper (also a staple in every kitchen!)

No feet funk here!

1) Peel the paper husks off the tomatillos and rinse. Notice a strange aroma? Peeled tomatillos kind of smell like feet, in my humble opinion. A nice shower under the faucet fixes ’em up just fine. The paper skin is also kind of sticky. Like an artichoke, these aren’t the most glamorous vegetables, but they pack a tasty punch.

 

 

Mmm, tomatillo salsa thus far the color of vomit

2) Throw just the tomatillos into the food processor and press the button. Watch as you make salsa! Blend them up nice and smooth, and then stop the food processor and add your chunks of onion and garlic cloves. Squeeze in the lime juice. Press “GO” or “Blend” again and watch the chunks turn into puree. MAGIC!

 

 

3) Now, add your bunch of cilantro. I
love cilantro. This will help get rid of some of that gross barfy color, but if you’re using green tomatillos, yours won’t be so vomitous looking. Add in a few generous shakes of sea salt (like really generous, maybe more like 2 or 3 pinches), and lots of fresh cracked pepper.

And Voila! You’ve made tomatillo salsa! Easy, right? Despite my many comparisons to stinky feet and barf, tomatillo salsa is a wonderful accompaniment to tortilla chips, eggs, burritos, or even as a dip for veggies. It’s got a slightly sweeter and more tangy taste than tomatoes, and I think the little seeds are adorable… like polka dot salsa.

Yummy!

Are you a fan of tomatillos? Have you ever tried them? If not, will you? Or is their stinky feet skin stench too unappealing?

 

 

 

Weekend Wrap-Up

*clutches belly* ohhhh. ahh. I guess I should *strain* write a blog…*unbuttons jeans* but that requires getting off the couch….. sooooo fulll *grimace*

JUST KIDDING! But after you see all of these pictures, you’re going to think the above is true! This weekend, my lovely Aunt Ginny, Uncle Daniel and parents were in town, and man, did we eat! Here’s a brief run down of some of our most memorable meals. Surprisingly, I was fairly good and overdid it only once, on salsa and chips, one of the more benign things to pig out on. But I also dragged my butt to mega-calorie blaster impact kickboxing for an hour, so that’s a plus!

My parents and uncle arrived Friday night, and I wanted something to snack on, so I made cookie dough dip. Sadly, this dip was extremely overrated, and I think I ate two or three licks of it before throwing it out. Unfortunately it just wasn’t a crowd pleaser and tasted nothing like cookie dough.

Cookie Do"n't" dip

Thankfully, I had harvested some peppers and tomatoes from my garden and made salsa. Fresh salsa is always amazing, but I may have gone a little overboard with the garlic (3 cloves? no problem!)

Salsa!

Last night, we went to Five Guys and had burgers, fries and peanuts – Here’s Matt holding his burger and a nice shot of the table. (See that hand dipping for fries? Love that!)

Five Guys and Fries

Then, this morning, we had brunch at BJ’s – I had the italian market salad (very good – I love fontina cheese! Where can I buy it?) and the whole table shared a chocolate chunk pizzookie. Here’s my mom pretending to lick the pan (maybe she’s not pretending).

Mmmm, coookie

And then tonight, we were naughty and celebrated the season premiere of True Blood by pulling out the deep fryer. Matt made most of the dinner (great job, Matt!) and we had delicious fried chicken, sauteed squash and zucchini (from our garden – it was SO sweet and tender – yum!) and mashed potatoes (I made the gravy).

Courtesy of Chef Matthew

Last but not least, we had FRIED CHEESE CURDS. My Auntie Ginny is from Wisconsin and she thoughtfully brought us some fresh cheese curds.

Ellsworth Cheese Curds!

Curds are … exactly what they sound like – curds! When they’re fresh, they squeak between your teeth. I dunked them in a light milk batter and deep fried them and the result was salty, chewy, melty, crunchy amazing cloggin-your-heart goodness. LOOK. JUST LOOK. nommmmmmm.

mmmmm fried cheese curd

All in all, it was a very nice weekend with my family and we ate lots of yummy things. I didn’t feel so bad though because I did work out, and never ate in excess. I think that while things like fried cheese curds aren’t a good long term choice for weight loss, having them every once in awhile (I haven’t had them in years!) is not a bad thing, as long as it’s in moderation. I won’t ever be able to be a cold-turkey from junk food type person – and that’s ok. It will take me small steps to complete my journey – and I’m willing to go a little slower to savor every day 🙂

Lyssa with her Curds