Friday Recap: The Great Crock Pot Experiment and a Protein Bar Review

HAPPY FRIDAY! The weekend is once again almost upon us, and I’m pretty effing excited.

I’ve got big (well, insofar as my grandma-status goes) plans for this evening: I’ve got a phone gabbing session scheduled with a family friend in Colorado as soon as I leave work, and then I’m gettin’ my hair did this evening. I’m going to a place near our new apartment, and it got great reviews on Yelp…so here’s hoping they handle my tresses well!

As for the Great Crock Pot Experiment and Operation: Time Management, overall I feel like this week was a win.

On the time management front, I felt much more on top of my schedule — and even though I often needed to push my morning workouts into the evening, it wasn’t hard to do. Dinner was ready as soon as I got home, which meant that working out didn’t feel all that daunting (there’s something about working out after chopping veggies and cooking that feels waaaaaay more onerous than just working out and then eating dinner).

I also really appreciated being able to rely on frozen/pre-chopped veggies, which made my life a lot easier. I saved a ton of time and effort by just opening up a bag of veggies (as opposed to rinsing, peeling, chopping veggies, and then washing knives and cutting boards), and I seriously enjoyed that.

 

As for the Great Crock Pot Experiment, the results were a mixed bag. Our verdicts on the recipes were thus:

Enchiliada Casserole: Meh. Kind of dry yet mushy, and pretty seriously lacking in flavor. I might try this one again with significant modifications, but I’m not sure.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic: We weren’t a fan. Brandon wound up ordering pizza instead.

Beef Carnitas: A good one! We approve!

Mediterranean Chicken: This was a monstrosity. It was straight-up deplorable, y’all — which, considering that I make this on the stove all the effing time, is a fairly spectacular fall from grace for this dish. I choked down my serving because I felt bad wasting so much food, but Brandon couldn’t get past the second bite.

The fact that the Crock Pot recipes were 1 out of 4 is, um, really demoralizing!

It looks like I have a steep learning curve to climb before I really get the hang of cooking things other than hearty winter soups and stews. (I bust out the Crock Pot all the time in the winter, and I have no problems with chili/tortilla soup/insert fall or winter food here — but apparently other entrees are a different matter.)

But learn I shall! In the words of the crazy restaurant owners whose Facebook meltdown went viral, I WILL PREVAIL! I WILL TRIUMPH!

In the interest of continuing to find ways to cut back on cooking time, I checked out some cookbooks from the library for a bit of culinary inspiration. I won’t be able to go Crock Pot-crazy every week, but if we can find good recipes that I can prep on the weekend, then that’ll definitely help. In the library mix:

 

Light and easy dinners

 

I looooove Ina Garten, and I’ve heard good things about Ellie Krieger — so, I’m excited to try these out!

I have to admit that I especially love all things Barefoot Contessa. She seems so down-to-earth, kind, and creative, so she seems like the sort of relatable woman I’d want to be friends with. Did you know that she used to be a budget analyst at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission before embarking on a massive career change? How cool is that?!

On a separate note, I’ve been trying to increase my protein intake as part of TNROLFW. To that end, I decided to try out three different kinds of protein bars this week, just to experiment and broaden my protein-y horizons.

I scoured the offerings at Whole Foods, and I eventually decided on these three: Luna Protein in Mint Chocolate Chip flavor, a Perfect Fit Protein Cookie, and the Quest Bars I keep hearing about.

 

image(11)

 

The reviews?

The Luna Protein Bar was uh-maaaaay-zing. I’ve desperately missed Luna bars in the 5 years that I’ve been gluten-free, and I was beyond excited when I saw that they had a GF line of products. I haven’t tried the other flavors, but the Mint Chocolate Chip was delicious! It tasted just how I remember Thin Mints tasting, and I wolfed it down.

Verdict:

image

 

 

The Perfect Fit Protein Cookie was ok. I think I was expecting a legit cookie, which probably raised my hopes and set the bar a bit too high. I suspect that if it was just a straight-forward protein bar, my expectations would’ve been lower and I would’ve been pleasantly surprised by how cookie-like it was — but since it’s marketed as a cookie, my brain had a hard time reconciling this information with my taste buds. I kept thinking “Aw man, this cookie tastes like a protein bar! Oh, wait…”

Verdict:

image

 

 

The Quest Bar was surprisingly delicious! I tried the Coconut Cashew flavor, and I was really impressed. When I opened it up and saw that it looks alarmingly blob-like, my first thought was “Really? This is what everybody raves about? This looks heinous!” Β I then veeeeeeery skeptically tried a teeny bite…only to be wowed by the sweet and salty taste. It’s effin’ good, y’all! I also wolfed this one down, which is really saying something.

Verdict:

 

Anyways, I’m off to do this morning’s workout (kickboxing + more lifting) — but I hope everyone has an awesome morning! TGIF, people. πŸ™‚

Have you ever tried Luna Protein or Quest Bars?Β 

Β If so, what flavors do you like?

Β What are your favorite cookbooks?

Do you have big weekend plans? (I’m dyyyyyyyying to see the new Star Trek movie – SO EXCITED!)

27 thoughts on “Friday Recap: The Great Crock Pot Experiment and a Protein Bar Review

  1. Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness May 17, 2013 / 8:33 am

    I lovvvvve Ina Garten too! She’s is by far my favorite cooking show host- I want to be invited to one of her “casual yet elegant and delicious” get-togethers SO BADLY. it’s a dream of mine. i have never tried quest or luna protein bars but i LIVED on luna bars in 2005ish, and I think i over did it, because I havent had one since but those guys were good! and its seriously abysmal that i havent tried a quest bar yet. i feel like i dont have proper street cred as a fitness blogger due to the fact ive never had a quest bar (well, that, and also due to the nature of the content I provide πŸ™‚

    Have a fantastic weekend girlie!!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 12:05 pm

      Girl, since my first venture into the world of Quest bars didn’t happen until this week, we’re both lacking fitness blogger street cred on this issue! πŸ˜‰

      As for Ina Garten, I freaking ADORE her. She seems so nice and normal, and I love how un-fussy she is. We should totally ask her to invite us to a casual-yet-elegant-and-delicious dinner — she’d be willing to host a few new healthy living bloggers, right? πŸ˜‰ Have an awesome weekend

  2. The Siren's Tale May 17, 2013 / 8:43 am

    I have been wondering about the Luna bars too… now that I know they’re good, I’ll have to pick some up! I may be a bit behind the game, but what’s “TNROLFW”?

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 12:03 pm

      No worries! TNROLFW is The New Rules of Lifting for Women, which I abbreviate because…well, I’m a lazy mofo. πŸ˜‰ As for the Luna protein bars, let me know what you think of the ones you try – a few of the other commenters have mentioned that the cookie dough one really does taste like cookie dough, which kind of blows my mind. πŸ™‚ Have an awesome weekend!

  3. OneMotherofaDay May 17, 2013 / 10:04 am

    I love the pic of the baby and dishes in the sink. It makes sense πŸ™‚ I used to eat the Luna Fiber bars, they were surprisingly good! I have quite an obsession with cookbooks. I have about 2 full bookshelves worth of cookbooks. Right now I am into all the Paleo cookbooks: Practical Paleo, Well Fed, Eat Like a Dinosaur, and those are the ones I’m currently using.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 12:01 pm

      I love cookbooks too — especially ones with great recipes and great photography, since they can then be both decorative and functional. πŸ™‚ Have a fantastic weekend!

  4. megbek May 17, 2013 / 10:31 am

    Oh my gosh I can’t believe the crock pot was such a failure!!! That’s such a bummer! I don’t blame your man for ordering pizza and not choking it down – but wow! I never hear anything negative about crockpot recipes til now! I am so sorry! Bummer x 1 million! Haha, Her Happy Balance talked about some protein bars today too… I’m just so skeptical of them. They dry out my mouth and usually taste… like… well, think of something gross and that’s what they taste like to me. Maybe your Mediterranean chicken? Ha! Have a fabulous weekend!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 12:00 pm

      Bhahahaha – Mediterranean chicken protein bars are totally going to be the next big thing! (No, wait…) I think the Crock Pot is a natural for soup and stew recipes, but it clearly takes some effort to make it work for other types of food. I’m determined to figure it out, though! πŸ™‚ Have a fabulous weekend!

  5. practicinggrace May 17, 2013 / 10:44 am

    I had a Ina Garten themed Easter dinner… she’s okay πŸ™‚

    The luna protein cookie dough is like candy. so good. and the quest bars I hear are great microwaved

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 11:53 am

      Another person mentioned that the Luna Protein cookie dough really does taste like cookie dough — that might be the biggest coup in the history of protein bars, if you ask me. I can’t wait to try it! πŸ™‚ Have an awesome weekend!

  6. thepaceofitall May 17, 2013 / 11:20 am

    I need to try that Luna bar then! I got a Luna protein bar, different flavor, and it was just meh.

    Good luck with the new cooking recipes! At least you’re still determined, I probably would’ve given up lol! Love the pic of the baby and dishes in the sink, lol!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 11:52 am

      The picture of the baby and the dishes in the sink cracked me up too — even though we don’t have kids yet, I can totally see myself doing that someday! πŸ™‚ Have a lovely weekend!

  7. livliveslife May 17, 2013 / 12:06 pm

    I always forget that I could borrow cookbooks from the library! Thanks for reminding me. And I agree, Ina Garten is the bomb, and I love Ellie Krieger’s stuff too.
    I really love the SparkPeople cookbook. I got it a few Christmases ago and use it frequently. There is some good stuff in there!
    Have a great weekend!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 11:51 am

      I haven’t heard of the Spark People cookbook, but it sounds awesome — I’m going to have to look that up, stat! πŸ™‚ Have a fantastic weekend!

  8. chasingchels May 17, 2013 / 2:31 pm

    Mmm I ❀ quest bars…need to remember to grab some this weekend when I'm out. I love the coconut cashew, cookie dough, and cinnamon bun. Hoping to try some new flavors when I hit the store πŸ™‚ I'm sorry the crock pot experiment wasn't as wonderful as hoped this week BUT I LOVE that you aren't giving up. Sometimes the best things in life are those that take the most time to figure out, right πŸ˜‰ I'm putting this in that category obviously πŸ˜› Enjoy the hair cut, love! And have a great weekend πŸ™‚

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 11:49 am

      LOL – I totally agree, and I love your take on this! (I’ll remember it next time a recipe is a flop — it’ll help me feel much better!) πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend, love!

  9. Alex @ therunwithin May 17, 2013 / 6:50 pm

    I have to say you picked one of the best quest bar flavors. I highly recommend chocolate peanut butter, chocolate brownie or strawberry cheesecake. all bomb. so good.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 11:45 am

      Omigod, strawberry cheesecake sounds amazing. Where do people usually pick these things up? I saw one kind at Whole Foods, but I presume you have to go elsewhere to find these other wondrous flavors.

      • Alex @ therunwithin May 18, 2013 / 9:17 pm

        GNC is the only place I have found them with a ton of flavors. Or online

  10. Melissa May 17, 2013 / 7:17 pm

    That Quest Bar flavor looks delicious and will be an excellent contribution to my recent coconut addiction…I must seek it out. I’ve really liked the Apple Pie (the chunks of apple rocked my world), Cinnamon Bun, and Vanilla Almond Crunch flavors.

    Ina Garten is awesome, The Barefoot Contessa is one of my go-to food network shows – how I wish I could hang out with her at one of her (apparently many) get-togethers!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 11:43 am

      Oh, wow — I didn’t know that Quest bars had so many awesome flavors! I’m going to have to try them all! (Or, ahem, if the folks at Quest want to, y’know, send me some to review, I’ll totally take them up on that offer.)

      BTW, the puppy in your profile pic is SO EFFING CUTE. I saw it and just about melted into a pile of good. Wuv teh puppeh!

  11. jessielovestorun May 18, 2013 / 5:56 am

    Two things…

    1. You better post a photo of your cut.. as I’m sure it’ll look beautiful
    2. Go get yourself another one of those coconut quest bars and mix it in w/ a frozen blueberry chobani (mixed with coconut flour). So good!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 10:24 am

      Oooooh, the blueberry Chobani + coconut Quest bar idea sounds AMAZING. Girl, you come up with some of the best flavor combinations ever! πŸ™‚

      I’ll tweet a pic of the new haircut later today — the stylist did an awesome job, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!

  12. Meredith May 18, 2013 / 10:20 am

    The Luna protein bars are my fave! I miss having them and I’m seriously stocking up when I’m home this summer! The chocolate chip cookie dough legit tastes like a cookie! Have a great weekend hun!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 18, 2013 / 10:22 am

      Seriously?! The idea that a protein bar could truly taste like cookie dough is effing revolutionary! πŸ™‚ I’m going to have to try that one next — thanks for the recommendation!

  13. Mariette May 18, 2013 / 3:25 pm

    Haha, I love your use of meme’s πŸ™‚

    I’m not a huge fan or protein bars, mainly because I’m not a huge sweets person, I’m more of a salty bacon & eggs with a side of sausage fan, and a bacon & egg flavored protein bar sounds, well gross. BUT Luna bars are great in a pinch!

  14. lifeaslisaknowsit May 21, 2013 / 4:47 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Quest bars! I just ordered 4 more boxes of the Banana Nut Muffin – my favorite kind!

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