Friday, January 6, 2012

Foodie Friday: Magic Pop

A few weeks ago, while I was browsing the bakery section of my local HyVee grocery store hoping to catch a glimpse of the freshly made chocolate whoopie pies that occasionally appear on the shelves (like chocolatey little grenades tossed into my path by the hateful hand of Satan himself) when my concentration was broken by an alarmingly loud metallic noise that can only be expressed in writing as "KaPOPChing!"

Whipping my head around and instinctively dropping ot my knees to avoid stray bullets, I spied a woman behind the counter of a previously unnoticed kiosk standing tautly next to a metal contraption looking at it tensely with a her lips twisted in a slight cringe. A moment later, the aforementioned other wordly sound rang out and a disk shaped UFO flew up and out of the machine. Intrigued, I went over to see what all the ruckus was about--and that's how I discovered this week's food find:

Kim's Magic Pop!

A six inch edible disc that is best described as a cross between a rice cake, a tostada shell, and a styrofoam plate, Magic Pop is an extremely low calorie cracker/bread/tortilla alternative. They are made on site at the store and bagged in stacks of twelve that sell for around $3.00. Available in several flavors, I have found them to be an excellent addition to my Weight Watcher's friendly food repertoire at just one point for THREE of them!

I've broken them into pieces and scooped up soup, spread them with a wedge of laughing cow cheese or peanut butter as a quick snack, and used them as an edible plate of sorts for a delicious breakfast scramble. I used them to create a quick broiled "pizza" and tried them in lieu of a traditional taco shell for a crispy tostada.

Be warned, these are not to be eaten unadorned. Of course you could eat them plain for a totally "free" snack. You could also pour hot water over a bowl of styrofoam packing peanuts and pretend it's cereal, but I wouldn't recommend that either. It should also be noted that they are porous by nature, and as such can get a bit soggy if you load them up with moisture rich toppings. I've found that you can delay the mush if you spread a layer of laughing cow cheese on it first, or use any sauce as a dip rather than a spread. For instance, to Magic Pop Pizza, top one with a little low fat mozzarella, mini pepperoni and sliced veggies and pop under the broiler to brown--THEN dip it into marinara as you eat it.

You can read more about the available flavors and see where these are available to purchase in your local area at their website here.

Happy Popping!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Twenty Duz

2011 was not my favorite year.

The glass-is-half-full part of my brain keeps trying to remind me that the first 10 months of it weren't so terrible, but the glass-is-half-empty contigent insists on pointing out that there was enough concentrated bummer oozing out of the last two to bring approximately 1000 glasses to half-full status--and is it really such a great thing that your glass is half-full if what it's full OF is the bitter remnants of your miserable, ruined life?

Ok, maybe that was a bit dramatic.
Let's just say that I was really ready for the year to be over.

Not that I was planning on sending it out in style or anything. The kid was going to ring in the new year with copious amounts of energy drinks and video games with some friends, so I had planned to continue my ongoing training for the Olympic spinster team by ringing in the new year with some crocheting, watching the second season of the BBC sitcom "Miranda" online (seriously, so funny I actually LOL when I watch it. Literally.), all while sipping off-brand sugar free hot cocoa and surrounded by my cats.

Oh yes. It was going to be a very wild night.

So when my friend Mizzle* invited (read: demanded via text in ALL CAPS) me to drive down and ring in the new year with a low key evening of food and board games with her family, I knew that it was a much less pathetic way to ring out the shitstorm that was 2011 than what I had planned.

And I really didn't want to go.

Maybe I was just in a mood. Maybe the idea of the hour long drive seemed like a little much. Maybe leaving my poor dog to brave the inevitable fireworks on her own seemed like a bad idea. Or maybe this lingering depression was getting the best of me that night and the idea of spending the last holiday of the season solo without anyone to kiss at midnight made me want to pull the covers over my head and hibernate until spring. And so I decided to politely decline, knowing that Mizzle is such a good friend that she'd totally understand and not push the issue and bully me via text over and over and call me until I agreed to come.

So I went.

And it was OK. I had some kick ass corn casserole and more than my fair share of bacony cream cheese dip on ritz crackers. I won a game of Apples to Apples, and had a good time during the games I lost too. I downed a delicious cup of coffee spiked with coffee flavor liqueur (Coffee within coffee. Very inception.) I talked a little about the life in the aftermath of the Ass-hat, and a lot more about other things...and before I knew it, the year had ended and a new one had begun.

I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen when the clock struck midnight, what would be different in the world betwen 11:59 PM December 31, 2011 and 12:00 AM January 1, 2012. It's not like I thought an angel would appear in a flash of white light and present me with Tim's head on a platter and declare that a new era of personal fabulousness was about to begin for me, starting with my magical transformation to an instant size 12 and the surprising information that my new mattress was actually stuffed with $100 bills. Well, I hoped that would happen, but I knew it wouldn't. Probably.

What DID happen is that I rang in the new year after spending a pleasant night surrounded by people I cared about. I had survived 2011 and started 2012 alone, but not lonely. Something I hadn't even wanted to do at first turned out to be the best thing for me, and I was glad I did it.

Kind of like stepping on the scale today. After two long weeks of holiday meals where I'd been satisfied with my choices but realistic about what effect they'd likely have on my weight loss progress, I hopped on the hateful bucket of bolts tonight....and gained 2.2 pounds.

And it was OK.

In 2012 I'll kick those 2.2 to the curb, along with a whole bunch of their friends.

New year. New start. New me.

*Not her real name.  And yet, actually her real name.  Puzzle that one out!