{My favorite things}

Let’s be real, sometimes you can’t get around buying prepackaged food. Life is busy, and I understand (and know) the need for a quick food fix. In a perfect world, we’d all live off the land, but it’s 2014, and most of us are grocery shopping.

If Oprah can have a list of favorites, I guess I can share my favorite “go to” items in a pinch. So while I’d love to slave over the stove for hours making the perfect pasta sauce (NOT!), sometimes the jar sauce is just fine. And although grinding almonds in a blender to make homemade nut butter seems fun, I think I’ll take a shortcut and get mind from the jar. Don’t get me wrong, I do love making things at home, but sometimes (as in most of the time) a girl just needs a quick fix.

*Disclaimer – I’ve read lots and lots of labels to come up with this list, but I urge you to do your own homework too.

These are a few of my favorite things:

(cue The Sound of Music):

Breakfast Meats:

I have eggs every morning for breakfast, and once in a while, I like to add a little extra protein in the form of a meat or (very) occasionally a scoop of Greek yogurt.

Brand: Oscar Meyer Nitrate/Nitrite free bacon
Pros: Available at Wal-Mart and most local grocers.
Cons: Are there any cons with bacon? I think not, I just don’t eat it everyday. It’s possible that the pigs may have been treated with antibiotics to control diseases or to speed up growth.


Brand: Applegate (look for the low-sodium brand)
Pros: Available at Whole Foods and some local grocers. Applegate does not administer antibiotics to any of its livestock.
Cons: More expensive than Oscar Meyer, limited stores carry the products.


Greek Yogurt:

Brand: Fage 2% Fat Plain
Pros: You can find a container at almost any grocery store. The yogurt is so creamy!
Cons: A medium-sized container will cost you about $4. If you buy flavored yogurt, there will be added sugar. Stick to the “plain” variety, and add your own toppings.

Deli Meats:

Brand: Applegate
Pros: The meat is nitrate and nitrite free. There are no added sugars, and there are several ham and turkey options available.  Overall, I think this is the best quality deli meat. Also, the meat is not slimy like other deli meats.
Cons: Based on volume, it may be more expensive that other deli meat, and not every store carries the brand.


Pasta Sauce:

Pasta sauce is great to keep on hand for quick meals.

Brand: Sal & Judy’s Original Sauce
Pros: You can find it at Wal-Mart. It’s generally less than $5 per jar. There are only 2 grams of sugar, and there is no added sugar.
Cons: You may not be able to find it a grocery stores outside of southeast United States.


Chicken and Beef Broth (look for the low sodium version)

I use chicken and beef broth in a lot of my cooking, but I don’t always have time to make my own. This is a great substitute.

Brand: The Fresh Market (store brand)
Pros: Cost, it’s usually around $2.99 for one quart container.
Cons: Fresh Market locations are generally limited to larger cities.



Brand: Amish Country Roll butter
Pros: I just found this butter a few weeks ago. It’s more flavorful that regular butter. Not confirmed, but I have read that the butter comes from grass-fed cows. Also, the roll is huge, and could probably last you a few months depending on how much butter you use for cooking.
Cons: Some associated grocer type stores will carry this item, but I’ve never seen it in a “big box” store.


Nut Butter:

Brand: Justin’s Nut Butter
Pros: There are several flavor varieties available – I like the classic almond butter flavor best. It’s also available in big box retailers like Wal-Mart.
Cons: The nut butter can cost upwards of $6; however; depending on how much you eat, it may last a week or 2.



Snack on the go:

Brand: Lara Bar (I like the Peanut Butter Cookie and the Blueberry Muffin flavors).
Pros: Non-gmo ingredients. No sugar added. Great grab and go snack if you don’t have a piece of fruit or veggies available.
Cons: The bars still have a high sugar content even though there is no added sugar.

To check out LaraBars visit http://www.larabar.com

Kid Snack on the go:

Brand: Brother’s All Natural Freeze Dried Fruit Crisps
Pros: There is no added sugar, no preservatives, no colorings and no flavor enhancements. They are also allergy friendly since it’s made with just fruit. Yay!
Con: The fruit is not certified organic.


Protein Shakes:

I use protein shakes for snacks (occasionally), or when I’m in a rush in the morning.

Brand: Plexus 96
Pro: It comes in a travel packet, so you can take it with you, and fix it when you’re ready. There are only 96 calories in the shake (if mixed with water). There is no added sugar, and it’s sweetened with stevia.
Cons: If you have a dairy intolerance, there is whey isolate and concentrate in the drink.

You can easily order the protein by visiting this link http://jadabruce.myplexusproducts.com/products/plexus-96


Brand: Now Egg White Protein Powder
Pro: The protein is sweetened with stevia. The main ingredient is egg white powder, so it’s great for people with milk allergies or intolerance.
Con: Not many stores carry it, but you can easily order online by visiting this link http://www.amazon.com/Now-Foods-Eggwhite-Protein-Vanilla/dp/B005551JXM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1412732697&sr=8-2&keywords=egg+white+protein+powder


I am very picky about sweeteners. While agave and honey are popular options, they are still converted to glucose in the body (sugar is sugar, right?). I prefer to use Stevia (which has actually been shown to stabilize blood glucose levels in some studies.)

Brand: Trader Joe’s Liquid or Powdered Stevia
Pros: $6.99 gets you 400+ servings.
Cons: you may not have a Trader Joe’s store in your area.


If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, the NOW brand is just as good, and you can order it online here http://www.nowfoods.com/BetterStevia-Extract-Powder-1lb.htm.

Keep in mind that a little stevia goes a long way, proceed with caution.


When the dog bites, and the bee stings, and I’m too busy to remember what to do on the never ending “to do” list… I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel  so bad!

(end Sound of Music)


I’d love to hear about your favorite food hacks that make life easier. Feel free to message me at JadaDanos@gmail.com

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. To find out how to get a free Breast Check kit, visit my website http://www.plexusslim.com/jadabruce. While you’re there, be sure to check out all the great products.

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