Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday faves

Hello lovelies! It's time, once again, for a rousing round of Erika's Favorites. I've got some good ones this week that I'm excited to share. I've got stuff for your hair, stuff for your belly, stuff for your kitchen and stuff for your wallet. Hooray!

In no particular order:

Sweaty Bands

I know I've told y'all before, but I am a sweater. We're talking wring-out-my-hair-at-the-end-of-a-workout-disgusting sweater. I also have, what must be, an oddly misshapen head, if the way regular headbands fit me is any indication. There are companies who make no-slip headbands, but I've literally had those things fly off the back of my weird head during a workout. So, when I read about Sweaty Bands, which fellow uneven-headed people swear (swear!) don't slip, I was skeptical, to say the least. But a local gift shop in Smyrna carries them, so I thought I'd try it out. And guess what? I swear (swear!) they don't slip. They come in many adorable patterns, which is a cute little bonus. And best of all, while they don't magically absorb every last bit of sweat, they do a heck of a job keeping the sweat from my hair (where I sweat the most) from dripping into my eyes. They're a little pricey, but totally worth it, I swear (swear!).

Pollo Tropical Balsamic Tomatoes

This is my new fast food love. Pollo Tropical is a fairly new chain in Atlanta. I think there are only two locations in the metro area, and luckily, one of them is near me. The menu is huge and can be a little intimidating, but it's good, good stuff. My latest addiction are the balsamic tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes and onions (I'm not a big raw onion fan, so I pick around them) swimming in lovely balsamic vinegar and spices. They're bursting with yummy flavor. And they're healthy! At least once a week, I hit the drive-through just for a side order of these babies. Pollo Tropical itself has a lot of great, healthy options. The grilled chicken breasts are great, and I've also heard good things about the pork. And it's always good to have a good-for-you fast food choice alternative, isn't it?

I've really been going through a lot of fruits and veggies lately (see my next favorite for why), and that can get expensive. I still love my Eat Right Atlanta folks for my fresh produce basket every other week, but I needed to supplement that in the off weeks. Enter Aldi. My smart sister-in-law, Beth, has sung the praises of Aldi for years, and, despite having a location right down the street from me, I've stuck to my Kroger shopping. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Aldi for the first time, and I was amazed by the prices. Two pounds of red, seedless grapes for $1.99? Avocados for 69 cents? What? While I probably wouldn't do my full shopping at Aldi, buying produce there is just smart for a budget-conscious girl like me. Make sure you bring your own bags (they charge you for shopping bags) and a quarter if you want a cart (you get it back) if you go. And while you won't find many name-brand items, you'll find good, fresh fruits and veggies for a steal. Happy tummy, happy wallet.

The NutriBullet
True confession time: I am an infomercial producer's dream. I've gotten sucked into buying so may things from TV it's embarrassing. It reminds me of Ariel in The Little Mermaid singing: "I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty. I've got whosits and whatsits galore. You want thing-a-ma-bobs? I've got 20." Yeah, when it comes to as-seen-on-TV products, I'm easy. So, the other night when I came across the infomercial for the NutriBullet, I tried to be a skeptic, but I was pretty quickly swayed.

I've been really trying to eat "cleaner" lately. More of the whole, fresh foods my body needs, and less of the processed junk I usually eat. So the Nutribullet, which, according to the slick commercial, creates nutrition extraction drinks, really appealed to me. I did some research. I read reviews and watched YouTube videos about it. It seemed like the real deal. It's not cheap--through the infomercial, it's $120 (six EASY payments of $19.99, of course), but it's available at Target and Bed Beth and Beyond for $99. I had to order mine through because it was sold out all over Atlanta.

I tracked the package like it was my job and couldn't wait for it to arrive. It's kind of a cross between a juicer and a smoothie-maker. Unlike juicers, you can use the skin of fruits and veggies to retain the fiber. And this puppy is fast. It pulverizes everything you put in it, including nuts and seeds. I've been really impressed with it so far.

Since I got it Monday night, I've made a drink in it every day for breakfast. My ingredients have included kale, spinach, apples, bananas, almonds, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango, clementines and flax seeds. And yes, I just said I drank kale. It was delicious. I highly recommend this little workhorse of a kitchen device. It's one gizmo I'm glad I have.

Your turn! What are your favorites right now?


Susanna King said...

I'll definitely have to check out the sweaty bands. Those no-slip headbands won't stay on my head, either.
Though the name makes me think of this:

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one with the weird-shaped head!
But seriously, I love Aldi's and almost all of their store brand items are just as good or better than the name brands.
~Laura S.

Anonymous said...

Love Aldi's!! You have to try their mozzarella cheese sticks and their no fat chicken broth. Both so good and so cheap.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your "favorites" posts so much! I just bought the cinnamon laughing cow cheese this weekend, based on your reviews!
I have been wanting to buy a super powered blender to make green smoothies for a good while now, but couldn't justify spending all that money, so you can imagine how excited I am to hear about the NutriBullet! One of my coworkers is reading over my shoulder, and she is going to get one, too! You should get a commission, LOL!


Anonymous said...

Will you post your recipes for your breakfast drinks? I too thought I was the only who had headbands fly off my head mid-workout! Best post yet :-)

cd said...

Always love your faves - :)

Anonymous said...

10 half sundried no-oil tomatoes (soaked for 15 minutes in warm water to get the salt off) plus 5 dates plu 1/2 cup water make a perfect clean-eaters salad-dressing/dip/ketchup. Soo yummy - make it every day. Great on baby green salad or on only cucumbers.
Experiment with more dates or more tomatoes or more water as you go. I prefer it dense and your nutribullet will do the job, even my simple blender does though!
Melanie from Italy