Lean Gourmet vs Smart Ones

lean gourmet smart ones

I have been eating Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners for lunch and dinner everyday since January 3rd or 4th 2013 and have lost a lot of weight.  The reason we started eating the Smart Ones is because we saw them at Food Maxx for only $1.88 and one of the packages had a coupon for $3 off 10, so we couldn’t resist considering they are around $5 at Albertson’s.

Diet food to me is a state of mind.  If you are eating food that you know isn’t good for you like say fried chicken, then you know you are eating crap and you end up making other bad choices because you don’t really care what you eat.  If you are buying a product that you know is a diet product, like Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisine, then you know you are eating healthy so you end up making better choices with other foods you eat.  I mean, that is just how I feel, you may not think the same way that I do.

It was that first batch of Weight Watchers Smart Ones that lead me to downloading Noom on my android phone which has helped me to lose more than 66lbs since January.  I have wanted to buy the Smart Ones, but I never could afford Albertson’s prices.  The decision to start using Noom also lead me to start eating fruits and vegetables, so it was literally a domino effect for me.  And like I said in the previous paragraph, it’s a state of mind.  I knew I was eating healthier, which lead me to eating more healthy foods and here we are.

So now it is mid June 2013 and I have to start making some choices.  The Smart Ones are going up in price.  Most of them went up to $1.98 and the rest have shot up even higher in price.  There are literally only 3 or 4 flavors that I actually like that are still $1.98, so my choices are now very limited.  When you only have 3 or 4 different choices, you become bored with your diet and end up branching out to eating well, crap.  So before I get to that point, I need to make a new plan of action.

We went to buy more Smart Ones the other day, but my partner found that right next to the Smart Ones were the Michelina’s Lean Gourmet for only .97 cents.  Holy crap!  That is cheap!  So, rather than buy 20 of the Smart Ones, we only bought 10 and 10 Lean Gourmet.

smart ones nutritional facts The Weight Watchers Smart Ones nutrition label shows you exactly how many calories you are eating.  I didn’t buy the same flavor in the Lean Gourmet that I also bought in the Smart Ones because I wanted all new flavors, so I couldn’t exactly compare the same meal.

This Smart Ones is the Lasagna Bake with Meat Sauce, which by the way is very good.  There are many things you want to look for when you read the nutritional facts when you are buying food.  The 3 most important things are calories, fat and sodium.  Although the sodium is pretty high in this particular meal, it does show up as green in the Noom app.  The fat content is fairly low and it doesn’t have any trans fats.  I didn’t take a picture of the ingredients, but the Smart Ones use wheat pasta.

lean gourmet nutritional facts

This particular Lean Gourmet is Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Chicken.  I have had the Smart Ones version plenty of times over the months, and I have to say that this one from Lean Gourmet is way too salty.  I don’t know how much sodium is in the Smart Ones version, but this one is really high at 680.  It’s only 270 calories and the fat is pretty low, but the salt is (I’m assuming) what makes it yellow in Noom instead of Green.  I would assume that the regular Michelina’s meals are probably red.

The chicken in the Lean Gourmet has a different taste than the Smart Ones, they are also smaller than Smart Ones.  The Lean Gourmet chicken tastes like the chicken in Chicken Soup, very salty, the Smart Ones chicken tastes like actual chicken and isn’t too salty.

I have been eating the Lean Gourmet for lunch every day and the Smart Ones for dinner.  My partner doesn’t want to buy the Smart Ones anymore if these are a dollar cheaper, but I would personally rather have the Smart Ones because they just taste better.  The Lean Gourmet ones are an excellent price and around the same calories as the Smart Ones, but they are way too salty.  I would rather keep buying Smart Ones and pay that extra dollar even if it means I only have 3 or 4 choices.  But honestly, they only went up maybe .10 or .20 cents or more, so it’s not that much more expensive.  I have lots of choices, it just raises my grocery bill.

In my personal opinion, the Weight Watchers Smart Ones are the better deal because your sodium is lower and the taste is 10 times better and you are actually getting 1oz more food.  Quality wins over quantity.

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Google Keyboard

google keyboard

I hate to type with my tiny android phone. The keyboard is literally too small for my fat fingers. Naturally it can take me a long time to type out a simple email which I hate because if it takes too long to type something, you forget what you wanted to say in the first place. That’s why I much prefer to type with my computer, but what if I’m not at home and I need to send a text or write an email to someone? In screwed, right?

So I got an email the other day from Google telling me about Google Keyboard for android. I had seen the swiping keyboard before, but it didn’t come with my phone so I forgot about it. I immediately downloaded the Google keyboard and started using it and I actually love it.

Okay, this is what I love about it… If you are typing and your finger doesn’t go on the right letters, for some reason, it already knows what you wanted to type, so the word comes up anyway. If it’s not the right word, there are choices you can choose from. If you didn’t see that you made a mistake, you just tap the wrong word and you can choose the correct word from the list. It’s literally that easy.

I am typing this out with my android phone right now.

Last night I typed out another post called Patriotic keychains and flag lanyard and it literally only took me like 10 minutes to type it out with Google keyboard.

When I need to type something with my phone, I usually use voice recognition, but then people hear me which makes saying what I have to say more difficult because I don’t want everyone knowing my business. This is actually faster than voice, but you still have that option if you need it. I don’t think I will need that anymore.

Just to clarify, they are not paying me to write this post. I just love Google keyboard that much lol.

A New Phone for (a belated) Christmas

I wrote about how I wanted to buy myself a new cell phone from Virgin Mobile for Christmas, but I can’t seem to settle on which phone I want and I keep changing the phone in that post.  I said I am not getting it for games, but here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if I play games on it or not, if it can’t play games well, then what hope do I have for it running apps?  So I want a phone that is capable of running apps as well as well as it runs games because I don’t want to be in an app and suddenly the phone freezes up.

The phone I wanted in the beginning was on sale for $49, but after seeing a video review on YouTube for it, I decided that it wasn’t what I wanted.  They always say you get what you pay for, and for $50 you are probably getting a piece of crap.  The phone is normally $100, but still, if they show a game freezing in the review then that’s enough for me to say no.

I have been watching other reviews for other phones and even though they are good phones, none of them compare to the quality you get with the most expensive Android phone that they have.

The HTC EVO V 4G is on sale for $189 and takes 3D pictures and video, which is nice and all, but where else am I going to see those besides the phone?  I can’t print the 3D images and I can’t watch the videos on my 2D TV, so what’s the point?  Plus it only takes 5MP pictures.  The most expensive one takes 8MP pictures and it doesn’t have 3D.  So I would say screw the 3D, I don’t need it.

The HTC One V and the Samsung Galaxy Reverb are both good phones, the HTC One V is on sale for $100 and the Samsung Galaxy Reverb is on sale for $150, but again, not as good as the most expensive one which I now see is no longer as cheap as it was yesterday.  It is the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G.  I can’t afford that for a phone.  So my 2 choices are now down to the HTC One V and the Samsung Galaxy Reverb.

I still can’t afford anything until next month.  I have already set aside $40 and I will have more than $100 coming to me next month for blogging and tweeting which is at least 6 months worth, so it’s not a lot lol.  Whatever amount I have will determine which phone I get.  I want the HTC One V because it seems like a much better phone, even though it’s cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy Reverb.  Of course, neither of them are as good as the Galaxy S II, but if that is all I can afford, then that’s all I can afford.  I will probably most likely have to pay separately for the plan after I buy the phone, so whatever it is I can add $35 to the price.

The toughest part is that by the time I have the money for the phone, they won’t be on sale anymore so I will end up paying more for the phone.  I’ll probably end up checking Amazon and VirginMobileUSA.com every day to see if they have a sale and which one is worth getting.  Who knows, maybe by the time I have the money saved up, they might have new phones that are better than the 2 I’m torn between.

I don’t really need a new cell phone because I hardly ever use the one I have, so this isn’t a necessity, but I would like to have a new one because I feel like I’m stuck in the dark ages with the one I have, even though I’ve only had it for a year and a half lol.  It’s like having a black and white TV when everyone else has color, or having a Nintendo 64 when everyone else has PlayStation.  This is starting to sound like an Alanis Morissette song.  It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife lol.

My phone never has a good signal, so whenever I call anyone with it, I feel like I’m going to get cut off so that’s why I don’t like to use it.  I know it’s not the phones fault, but how do I know it’s not?  It’s a Samsung T401G from Net10.  I have had trouble downloading games for it because of the bad signal.  I have to wait until we go to a doctor’s appointment or to the mall to get a good enough signal just to download games, and forget about checking email because every time I try to do that, Gmail has to send me a new code which comes in a text so I have to leave the browser and read the text and try to remember the code so I can enter it when I go back to the browser.  It’s just a horrible phone lol.  I want a new phone because I feel if I had a better phone I might use it more.  I may not call people, but I will use the apps.

Another reason I want a smart phone is so that I can use Twitter and Facebook when we’re not home and I can’t get to a computer or I don’t want to be rude enough to take out my Chromebook.  It will be so much easier to pull my phone out and do a quick Facebook update or tweet and then put it back in my pocket.  It will also be so much easier and faster to tweet pictures that I have taken with my phone instead of having to upload pics to Picasa to edit before uploading to Facebook and Twitter.  It will take so many long steps out of the equation.  Also I can read email and respond right away, not that I get a lot of emails anymore since Facebook and Twitter came out, but still.

I will have to wait and see what happens in January before I can make a firm decision on whether I will get a new phone and which one it will be.  I hope it’s a good one and is 100 times better than the one I have.

E-Cigarette For Weight Loss!

Ok so last week I wrote about this website called Zeus eJuice which is a company that a friend of mine and her husband run.  They make this e-liquid for those electronic cigarettes in awesome flavors.  Cause when you smoke, you don’t want to have 2 choices, regular or menthol, you want some really neat flavors.

Here is the original post: Vape with Zeus E-Juice for Ego E-Cigarette

I quit smoking in 1996, but a few years ago I bought a pack of cigarettes because even though I didn’t want to start smoking again, I kinda missed it.  Luckily I couldn’t keep doing it because it was hard to inhale the smoke, I don’t mean mentally, it was physically difficult.  I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t used to it.  It didn’t hurt, I just couldn’t breathe it in as easily as I was able to when I did smoke.  I smoked one here and there, but luckily I didn’t pick the habit back up.

After I blogged about Zeus E-Juice, I really started to think about the health benefits of “vaping” and I wrote another post about that.  I had looked up videos on Vaping on YouTube and I have been researching websites to find out if vaping is a good way to lose weight because I am over 100lbs overweight, half of which is from when I quit smoking.  I have found so many testimonies from people claiming that they have lost weight after vaping with the sweet flavors, they no longer desire to go out and buy sweet treats which in turn has helped them lose weight.  It especially helps those who are trying to quit smoking to lose weight instead of gaining it when they quit like I did.

I didn’t want to rush into buying anything, but I figured I have the money now, and I know I want to at least try it and see if it works, so I bought one.  If this doesn’t work then I can send the kit to someone who wants to quit smoking.  But if it does work, then I will keep using it to help me lose all of this weight.  I am really sick of being fat.

So here is the e-cigarette that I bought online.  I went to eBay and this came up.  It was only $32.75 and it is being shipped to me for free.  I believe it’s coming from Singapore, so that was surprising that it was free shipping.  It has a battery indicator so you know whether it needs to be charged or not.  It is said to have a 3-5 day charge, but I don’t plan on vaping it all the time, only when I get a sweet tooth.  According to the description, I am getting 2 e-cigarettes.  These things don’t last long so one of them is a backup.  I am also getting 5 cartridges that are Marlboro flavor, which I will probably dump into the sink and fill with the e-liquid I bought from Zeus e-Juice.  I don’t want the nicotine, I just want the flavor. Here are the flavors I am getting.

I also ordered Toasted Marshmallow, but I guess they couldn’t fit that into the image.  But everything is ready to go and I look forward to tasting these flavors.  None of these flavors have any nicotine so there is no risk of habit.  The good part of vaping is that there isn’t any tar, tobacco and the thousands of chemicals that you have in your cigarettes.  You aren’t getting smoke into your lungs, you are getting vapor, hence the term vaping.

Weight gain is a concern for all who quit smoking and that was what happened to me when I did quit smoking.  I gained 50lbs within the first 2 or 3 months.  The reason is because I was eating sunflower seeds all day long.  I figured the hand to mouth motion would help me, but I didn’t consider that the sunflower seeds were fattening.  They are fine in moderation, but if you are eating nothing but sunflower seeds all day long, you’re gonna gain weight.  I was also rewarding myself with ice cream and we were eating fast food every day.  You can’t reward yourself for quitting a bad habit because you are only giving yourself another bad habit.

I struggled with those 50lbs for the first few years, but then gave up and have gained another 50lbs and haven’t been able to lose it.  Oh I have tried many times.  I’ve taken diet pills, I have bought a belt that you put around your stomach and zip up and I have ridden my bicycle 22 miles a day.  I even went to the gym in 2005, but that didn’t work out too well.  The reason all of these things didn’t work out for me is because I was still eating junk.  The only way weight loss can happen is if you are changing your eating habits and exercising.  You can lose weight with diet change or with exercising, but it’s really difficult unless you are doing both at the same time.

So, my plan of attack is to start vaping when I get a sweet tooth or when I get hungry.  Cut out the coffee and vape the caramel cappuccino flavor instead.  Replace my drinks with water and eat healthier foods.  I also plan to start riding my bicycle again after I have lost enough weight to where I can ride my bike again.  I have gone over the weight limit lol.

So naturally I will keep this blog updated on my progress.  I will post again when I get the ecigarette and post my findings on the tastes too.

Update: Please read my post called “Vaping and Weight Loss” for my latest discovery.  Hint, it doesn’t work…

The Golden Corral

Darrin has wanted to go to Golden Corral ever since they opened their doors last year, but we just never made it.  We tried to go there a couple of times but their line was so long outside the door that we just said screw that, and then we would go to either a chinese restaurant or Hometown Buffet.

Last night as I was about to prepare dinner, I emailed Darrin asking him what he wanted.  I gave him choices, Beef Ravioli or lasagna.  He emailed me back saying neither, he wanted to go to Golden Corral.  I was a bit irritated because I knew we would be standing in line outside for at least half an hour or longer.  Fortunately there wasn’t a line at all so we only had to wait 10 or 15 minutes to get to the cashier.

We have never been to a Golden Corral so we weren’t sure how things worked.  At Hometown Buffet you pay for your dinners and drinks and then get seated and go get your drink and food.  At Golden Corral you get your drink before you even pay, then they seat you and you don’t even have to get your own drinks, your waitress does that for you.  All you need to worry about is getting your food.

The only thing that irritated me was the cashier.  They have signs posted all over the place that said that it was 2 for $20 Mon-Thurs after 4pm and then under that “the whole restaurant.”  OK when you read that, what goes through your mind?  Food, dessert, drinks etc. right?  WRONG!  They charged us for drinks,  $2 each in fact.  That is a bit misleading and so I mentioned it to Darrin and made him ask the cashier and she started laughing at us.  That put me off because I don’t like being laughed at and that was a legitimate question.  I feel that it’s false advertising because the drinks are in the restaurant, so why wouldn’t that be included in the deal?  She told us “nice try” and we shrugged it off.

The choices of food at Golden Corral were vast.  They had this long salad bar that seemed to go on forever, across from that were the cooked foods where you had to stand in line for your steaks which you have to wait to be cooked.  Their steaks were so frickin’ good too.  I mean, can we talk?  Their steaks were so good that if it were possible to have an orgasm from eating meat, we would have been screaming “OH GOD, OH GOD” at the top of our lungs while pounding on the table with our fists, that’s how good it was.  I didn’t want to stand in a long ass line to get steak, but Darrin gave me some of his.  He on the other hand kept coming back with more steak and I didn’t understand how he was getting them so fast.

My first plate was a salad and oh my goodness, the thousand island dressing was so good.  I have never had thousand island dressing that tasted like that.  I love Bob’s Big Boy thousand island, but golden corrals was even better, and that’s saying something.  Next time I want to try their ranch.

My second plate had fettuccine alfredo.  Again, orgasm.  Their alfredo sauce was so freakin’ amazing.  I also had some bourbon chicken, I don’t know the exact name but oh my goodness, it was so fantastic.  I was in awe of the flavors that were dancing with my taste buds.

I went back for another plate because I am a glutton for punishment and of course I got more bourbon chicken, macaroni and cheese and a slice of pepperoni pizza.  I just had to have all of these flavors in my mouth all at once.  I knew my stomach couldn’t handle all of the food but I was just too curious.  The pizza was better than Pizza Hut and Dominos combined.  I kid you not, it was amazing.

I was already full by the time I finished eating my three plates, but I wanted dessert.  I went to stand in line for the desserts and I noticed a machine that was supposed to squirt batter into grease to make these little mini donuts, and there were these arms that were supposed to flip the donut so it could cook on the other side too.  I didn’t actually see any donuts being made because it didn’t have any batter in it because their donut bowl was already full, but my mind was blown away.

I grabbed a slice of chocolate cake and put 2 marshmallows on a stick and dipped it in some chocolate.  Speaking of which, they didn’t have a chocolate fountain like in the commercials.  I asked the waitress about that and she told me they were missing a part so it wasn’t working.  That was disappointing, but the taste of the chocolate on 2 marshmallows that I put on a stick made up for that disappointment; it was AMAZING!

They have really put Hometown Buffet to shame.  In fact, I have noticed over the last few months when we go there that they are always empty.  I mean not empty empty, but when we go there, we don’t have to wait in a line, we just go to the counter and pay for our meal and we don’t even need to wait to be seated because there is usually plenty of seating, and now I know why.  I guess when Golden Corral opened up, everyone abandoned every other restaurant in town, and with good reason.

We went to the Golden Corral on Ming Avenue here in Bakersfield and our waitress was Denise, and she was the sweetest waitress.  When the manager told us to come back, I replied “Oh we will, you can count on that” and I meant it.

If It Isn’t One Thing, It’s Another

So I bought a new video card this month and even though it started out bad, I found a solution to keep it turned on and working right.  As long as I didn’t turn the computer off completely but instead put it to sleep when I’m not using it then all would be ok.

We got a notice on the door from PG&E on Wednesday that our electricity would be shut off Friday for an unspecified amount of time.  Well, I knew that this would cause my computer to turn off all the way.  When I got my computer to work before it didn’t take more than a few minutes for it to turn on so I never thought in a million years that it would be a huge issue for my computer to be without power even for a few hours.

Our power got shut off as I was expecting but when it finally came back on, my computer didn’t want to turn back on.  It eventually did come on but it said something about the CMOS.  I was given 2 choices.  F1 to enter the setup or F2 to choose optimal settings.  I chose F1 and in there I chose optimal settings and it turned on and went into Windows just fine.  It all got frozen so I rebooted.  I didn’t have any rebooting issues before so I didn’t think anything of it.

When it turned back on I got another blank screen.  Nothing was happening and I was back at square 1.  Dammit!  Why did I have to reboot?  Well, I’m glad I did because it told me that I wasn’t finished, also, I shouldn’t live in fear of turning my computer off.  That’s certainly no way to live.  So I opened the side panel and clear the CMOS (pulling the jumper from 1-2, putting it on 2-3 waiting 5 seconds then putting it back on 1-2).

Turned the computer back on and nothing.  Eventually it did show me the same issue and I chose F2 and for some reason it did start to load but then it rebooted.  I got the screen you see when you first turn the computer on but then the monitor went dead again and it never turned on again.

I’ve opened the case, reseated everything.  Pulled all the power supply plugs then put them all back in their place and turned it on and still nothing.  The only light that turns on is the green light.  At one point the red light would flash 3 times in a row then pause then 3 times over and over.  Then another point it would flash 2 then pause then 1 then pause then 2 then 1 etc.  Then no lights flashing at all.  I don’t understand.

I opened it up again and with my bicycle light I inspected everything and I did find this little issue which would explain why I wasn’t hearing any beeping sounds.

The red wire on my speaker wasn’t connected.  I tried soldering it back on but it still doesn’t beep.  Although, I’m not exactly sure I did it right.  They are inexpensive and I tried to buy another one at the computer store and they looked at me like I was an alien from outer space when I asked for it.  I went to Radio Shack next door and the guy I asked said they didn’t sell those.

I was looking at the video card box and it shows the system requirements on the side of the box.  One of those requirements is power supply and it shows a link to the list of power supplies that are compatible and my new power supply isn’t anywhere on that list.  Probably because it was the cheapest power supply they sold.

The reason I bought a cheap power supply is because I didn’t even think that it would affect any of the hardware.  I always thought that as long as it gave power to the computer that it didn’t matter how cheap it was.  How wrong was I!  So, now I have to buy a new power supply and it could cost me as much as $100-$250.  I am too poor to spend $250 just for a power supply so I have to go through the list on the Best Buy website to get prices so I know I’m getting a good power supply but in the $100 range.

I looked at websites like NewEgg.com and TigerDirect.com and they did have a couple that were on the list but what if I did order one and I had to wait a week for it to come and it still didn’t work?  I’d have to send it back, buy another one, wait another week.  Forget it!

I was looking at the Best Buy website last night and I narrowed down my search to the $50-$99 price range then looked at all of the power supplies they sell and compared them to the list and the least expensive one on the list is the Cooler Master GX 650 for $99.  It’s a bit expensive but considering I wouldn’t have to wait for it to come to me in the mail I’m willing to pay for the convenience of getting my computer working immediately.

It took a week for my video card to arrive and even though it wasn’t too late to send it back, once I got it working and cut the proof of purchase off the box to send the rebate in, it was too late to send it back.  I would much rather buy something in a store so I can return it for a new one of it doesn’t work right.  I should have done that with my video card, then again I still have a crappy power supply so now I know why my video card doesn’t work.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to do this until next week when I get my next check because I am so broke right now.  But I really don’t need to have my computer right away so it can wait.  As long as I have my Chromebook I’m fine.  I can spend my week reading books like I did before I got my new video card.  It’s not a huge crisis but still, I want my computer to work.

Shop for Coffee

As with a lot of people, I have a coffee addiction.  I don’t know why, I just do.  Since it’s just me in the house all day long I have a whole pot to myself so it can take me the whole day to drink a pot but that’s even better for me.

My coffee maker has 2 sides, coffee on the left and espresso on the right.  I can make espresso, cappuccino and latte’s.  I mostly stick with latte’s because I don’t know how to make cappuccino’s and I’m not real into espresso because its way too strong for me.  It’s like a whole pot of coffee in a shot glass.  No thank you.

The grocery store is a great place if you don’t have that much money but they are getting to be too expensive for me and I was looking for a new place to buy espresso coffee for my latte’s.

ROASTe.com has only been around for a year but they have close to a thousand coffee choices and they are already the largest coffee store on the internet.  That’s not bad for only 1 year.  They have such a wide variety and selection of award-winning micro-roasted coffee for coffee lovers like you and me.

Their website has user-generated reviews making decision-making easier when searching for the right coffee.  I can’t count how many times I’ve bought things blindly without reading reviews.

ROASTe.com has free Shipping on order $35 and over and you can use coupon code BLOGME5 for $5 off your first coffee purchase just for reading this blog post.  Click one of the many banners in my blog to place your first order today.