Aroma Professional Food Dehydrator Review

aromaprofessional

This dehydrator doesn’t have the sleekest of designs. It is a similar to a large toaster in size, and has an opening where you place your food on the trays to let them dry. As a side note, there are six trays, so you can dry a good bit of food at once.

It also has a drip pan at the bottom to remove the water after the food has been dehydrated, which is a big plus. It weighs 11.7 pounds, so it is definitely an investment in terms of space.

Speaking of investment, this dehydrator is currently being sold for $129.89 on Amazon. This is pretty middle of the road; it isn’t crazy expensive, but most people can’t just buy it on a whim, either. It certainly comes with all of the essentials; it has an internal fan to allow for even drying, and a thermostat that ranges from 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

First Impressions

I was initially surprised at how big this unit was! If you’ve read above then you know what to expect, but I hadn’t realized the scale it was built on. Some would say it’s clunky, which is fair, but this also means that it can hold a lot of food at once, so I’m not complaining!

I got it set up right away and didn’t have any issues. It comes with an owner’s manual that also says how long you can expect to wait on certain kinds of food, which is a nice touch. Once it was all set up, the only thing left to do was give it a whirl!

Dehydrating

One disconcerting thing that I noticed was the smell of burning plastic when I first turned on this unit. It lasted for about five minutes and hasn’t been an issue since then, so I’m willing to let it go, but it’s something to be aware of.

I decided to start out with something easy; veggies! I put in some spinach and kale and gave it three hours to dry them. When I opened it up, voila! Perfectly dehydrated and all of the residue had landed in the drip pan at the bottom. I wiped down the trays and while I wouldn’t say they are particularly easy to clean them, it certainly isn’t a big chore.

After I cleaned my trays, I moved on to something a bit bigger. I spread out about a pound of beef jerky on some parchment paper and let the dehydrator do its thing. I came back to it eight hours later, a pretty normal time for that amount of meat, and it was perfect! Totally dried and ready to be stored. Cleanup was just as easy with meat, almost all of the residue ended up in the drip pan.

Final Verdict

I have to give this product two big thumbs up! It has been dependable and has yet to let me down with any task. Everything I put in dries easily and I don’t have to worry about it not drying evenly because of the internal fan.

If I had one complaint, it would be that it’s hard to check on the food once it’s in there without opening the door, which obviously lets the heat out. That is far from a big deal, though, and it’s how most dehydrators work anyway.

Overall this was an amazing product, and I don’t have much negative to say about it. The Aroma Professional Dehydrator gets 4.5 stars out of 5 from me!

Zhenas Tea Is a Tasty Way to Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

ZhenasTeaSlimMe

If you’re trying to get healthy, tea is a far better beverage choice than coffee or soda. In addition to having less caffeine, tea contains flavonoids that are good for the heart and help prevent your risk of developing many types of cancers.

Zhenas new line of Extra Strength Slim Me teas are designed to offer all the health benefits of regular tea along with a specially formulated combination of herbs that help promote weight loss, such as Raspberry Ketone, Green Coffee Extract, Garcinia Cambogia Fruit, and African Mango Seed.

The product is available in four flavors:

  • Cranberry Ginger
  • Peach Vanilla
  • Superfruit Mixed Berry
  • Raspberry Mint

I am not a huge tea drinker, but Ive been trying different kinds of tea lately in a quest to help kick my diet soda addiction. I really like the Cranberry Ginger and Superfruit Mixed Berry flavored Extra Strength Slim Me tea. Its helped me cut down on my soda consumption considerably and its certainly a nice change of pace from drinking plain water.

The Extra Strength Slim Me teas can be served hot or ice cold, depending upon your taste preferences. My husband and I both thought the tea tasted better cold.

When you drink an eight ounce glass of Zhena’s Extra Strength Slim Me tea before each meal, it helps to suppress your appetite. Its not meant to be a magic cure for obesity, but it seems like it would certainly be helpful if youre trying to drop a few pounds.

Each Zhenas Extra Strength Slim Me tea tin contains 30 tea bags and sells for $9.99. You can buy the tea on the Zhenas website or at Rite-Aid stores nationwide.

Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

checkprice

Youd Never Guess That Kimberleys Bakeshoppe Triple Chocolate Cupcakes Came from Walmart or Kroger

KimberleysChocolateCupcake

Ive been disappointed too many times over the years by the things that came out of the Walmart and Kroger bakeries. Im sure there are some fantastic desserts in those stores somewhere, but I just havent found them.

I was in my monthly I need chocolate rage that my husband recognized before I did, and he scampered out the door just as Publix was about to close. He didnt make it in time, so he had to go to Kroger.

What he picked up wasnt actually made there, but that didnt really make me feel much better, since most of the desserts Ive purchased in stores that werent made in their bakeries were stale and tasteless, hardly worth trying to cure a rage with, and likely to make me even madder when the plans failed.

He got the Kimberleys Bakeshoppe Triple Chocolate Cupcakes and I kind of wish they didnt come in four-packsbecause Im likely to eat them all.

Theyre absolutely decadent and not dry at all. The frosting on top is thick and creamy, not just half-hearted fluffy swirls of sugar that hurts your teeth. Theres some substance there. The cake itself, while moist, is nothing to flip out over until you bite into the fudge. The fudge wasnt just a blob in the center; its almost as if it were injected all throughout the cake to add extra richness and flavor.

If I didnt know better, Id have thought these came from a local gourmet cupcake shop. Im not sure if theyre sold in stores other than Walmart and Kroger, but if you see the chocolate or red velvet ones (my mom had some of those), grab them. You wont be disappointed.

KimberleysChocolateCupcake
checkprice

Willamette Valley Granola Chips Are a Great Healthy Snack Option

WillametteGranola

If you’re looking for an alternative to potato chips, granola chips are a much healthier snacking option. Willamette Valley Granola Chips are crunchy bite size granola snacks made with oats, barley, amaranth, and quinoa.

The Granola Chips are available in Honey Nut, Vanilla Bean, Wild Berry, and Butter Pecan flavors. The Honey Nut and Vanilla Bean flavors were my family’s favorite. I thought the Honey Nut was exceptionally good dipped in peanut butter.

Aside from being a convenient snack option, the Granola Chips are great as an on-the-go breakfast idea. Everyone in my family would much rather sleep an extra 15 minutes than get up to eat breakfast, but it’s not hard to manage to eat a few of these granola chips and some dried fruit or nuts on the way to work or school.

The chips themselves are very sturdy, so you don’t need to worry about them turning into a crumbled mess if they get tossed around in your child’s backpack.

Willamette Valley suggests pairing the granola chips with a homemade parfait. If your kids like yogurt, this seems like it would work well with the Vanilla Bean flavor. Unfortunately, my family isn’t big on yogurt.

A serving of Granola Chips is 10-12 chips. There are 110 calories per serving and each serving contains 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance for whole grains. The chips are also a good source of fiber.

Willamette Valley Granola Chips are available nationally for about $3.99 for each 6.2 oz bag.

Disclaimer: Sample Willamette Valley Granola Chips were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

Wildwood Veggie Burgers Are a Convenient Meatless Meal Option

WildWoodVeggieBurger

Even though I’ve been trying to eat less meat, I haven’t been able to figure out how to make a decent veggie burger from scratch. I’ve been on a mission to sample some of the premade burgers that are available, so I was anxious to try Wildwood’s organic veggie burger.

This meatless burger is a blend of tofu and vegetables, including organic yellow onion, organic carrots, and organic kale. It’s gluten free, heart healthy, and has 170 calories per serving. That’s slightly more calories than many other veggie burgers on the market, but you have to keep in mind that the Wildwood burger is also bigger than its competitors. The Wildwood burger is 3 ounces, but most other burgers are only 2.5 ounces.

The Wildwood veggie burger tastes nothing like a hamburger, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. Of all the veggie burgers I’ve tried in the past, the ones that tried to imitate the taste of a hamburger were my least favorites. I’ve come to the conclusion that vegetables just aren’t supposed to taste like meat.

The Wildwood veggie burgers are ready to eat, so they are good for when you want a quick meal option. I tried frying mine in a pan with a small amount of oil, but I think I might have overcooked it because it seemed a bit dry when I was done. The other veggie burgers I’ve tried cooked up fairly well this way, but I think the Wildwood burger would have been better if I’d just microwaved it.

Visit the Wildwood website for more information about their meatless product offerings, including the veggie burgers, meatless meatballs, and tofu crumbles.

Disclaimer: Sample Wildwood products were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.

WhoNu? Cookies That Are (Sort of) Good for You

WhoNuCookies

Okay, cookies are probably never going to actually be good for you if they taste the way cookies should taste. WhoNu? Soft & Chewy Cookies, however, make some claims that sound as if they’re as close as you’re going to get from store-bought baked goods.

They taste good, too, like some of the other well-known cookie brands. They really are soft and chewy, so if that’s the type of chocolate chip cookie you prefer, you may love these. They don’t taste “healthy” at all. There’s also a crispy chocolate chip cookie as well as a few other types.

Here’s a quick look at the ingredients list: wheat flour, enriched bleached wheat flour, semi-sweet chocolate chips, high fructose corn syrup (oh no!), soybean oil with mono and diglycerides, polydextrose, sugar, corn syrup, corn starch, glycerin, artificial flavors, baking soda, soy lecithin, molasses, salt, annatto.

Clearly, these aren’t completely “clean” cookies. The high fructose corn syrup bothers me; I didn’t notice it in the list before. I’m guessing it’s in most boxed cookies, though, so these may still be the lesser of the evils on the shelves. There are no trans fats or hydrogenated oils.

The box says that, for three cookies, you get:

  • The calcium and vitamin D in an 8 oz. glass of milk
  • The vitamin E in two cups of carrot juice
  • The vitamin B12 in a cup of cottage cheese and fruit
  • The vitamin A in an 8 oz glass of tomato juice
  • The vitamin C in a cup of blueberries
  • The fiber in a bowl of oatmeal
  • The iron in a cup of cooked (frozen) spinach
  • 150 calories, five grams of fat, two grams of protein, 11 grams of sugar, and 24 grams of carbohydrates

Despite the nutritional value, these are obviously not intended to be used as meal replacements, so stock up on your fruits and veggies while you’re at the store. However, if you really have a craving for soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies but don’t want to make them yourself, you may be able to get by with a little less guilt when you crack into a box of these (I did).

There are only about 18 cookies in the box, so if you share, the cookies will be gone in no time, the craving taken care of, and there wont still be a lot of sugary treats lying around the house begging you to eat them.

Weight Watchers Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Bars Are Sinfully Good

WeightWatchersDarkChocolateRaspberryIceCream

If you’re watching what you eat, I highly recommend keeping Weight Watchers Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Bars on hand for when you need a special treat that won’t derail your diet.

These ice cream bars have just 80 calories, but are sinfully good. Each bar is worth 2 Weight Watchers points and there are 12 bars in a box. According to the box, however, the serving size is 2 bars with 170 calories and a points value of 5.

I’m not doing Weight Watchers at the moment, but I’ve found that even roughly attempting to follow their points system is beneficial for helping to keep my weight under control.

I have a major sweet tooth and I’ve enjoyed most of the Weight Watchers ice cream treats that I’ve tried in the past. The Weight Watchers Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bars are my favorite though because they are the most satisfying and have the fewest calories.

I can deal with eating a salad for dinner as long as I can treat myself to one of these bars for dessert.

I purchased the Weight Watchers Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bars as a treat for myself, but even my husband and my son admitted that they are delicious.

Any “diet” food that gets a thumb-up from two of the pickiest eaters I know has to be good. The next time I buy these bars though, I’m planning on hiding them in the back of the freezer so I don’t have to share!

If you’re familiar with Weight Watchers food products, which items are your favorites?