Candied Buddha’s Hand. PowerFlex. Seckel Pear. Cheaters.

December 16, 2010

Today’s post is all about new things.  I have four of them to talk about, so let’s get going!

1) Candied Buddha’s Hand. It’s the second paragraph, and I already have to slightly clarify what I wrote above.  This first item isn’t so much a completely new thing, as I discussed Buddha’s Hand in this post, but I did made a new recipe using it, so I’m still counting it as new.

Here’s a quick catch-me-up: a Buddha’s Hand is a citrus fruit that looks unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  I still had most of the one I bought at the beginning of the week, even after using some of it while making dinner the other night:

I looked around online to figure out what to do with the rest of it, and decided I would candy it, just like you can candy lemon slices.  First step: chopping up the Buddha’s Hand:

Then I made a simple syrup: 2 cups sugar dissolved over a low flame in 2 cups water.  (Yeah – not the healthiest recipe, especially for a weight-loss blog, but at least it’s fat free!)  I added the Buddha’s Hand to the syrup:

It simmered for an hour, until the white parts became translucent.  I pulled the Buddha’s Hand out with a slotted spoon, and laid it on wax paper:

It was really sticky, as it had been sitting in syrup for an hour, so I left it to dry overnight on the counter.  The next day, it was still kinda sticky, so, thanks to a suggestion from my mom, I dried it for an hour in the oven set to 200 degrees.  The end result?  Delicious!  The addition of the sugar took away some of the bitterness, and it also enhanced the lemony flavor.  Even my mom, who was not a Buddha’s Hand fan, came around a little bit, saying this liked it in this application slightly more than she did in my other creations.

Now I’m out of fresh Buddha’s hand, but I have a tin of the candied version of it!

2) PowerFlex. My friend Laura (who’s wedding I went to last weekend) is a member at the gym I joined for the two weeks I’m in Michigan, so we met up this morning to work out together.  It’s fun to work out with a friend, and we decided to take a PowerFlex class.  Neither of us had taken one before, and, actually, Laura had never taken a group exercise class of any sort before.  It was about 50 minutes long, and was a total-body weight training class.  We used a variable-weight barbell and free weights, and did a ton of reps of a lot of different exercises, divided into 4 or 5 minute chunks that each focused on a different muscle group: biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders, legs, gluts, abs.  The teacher (who’s name I didn’t catch), was really energetic and had a slight Russian accent, and the class was challenging – I have a feeling I might be a little sore in the morning.

I’d definitely take a class like this again, even though after doing 100 or so squats I don’t even want to think about doing another one any time soon.

3) Seckel Pear: After the gym, Laura came over for lunch and so we could hang out more, and being a regular blog reader and knowing my love of trying new things, she was hoping I might have something new for us to try.  I was prepared:  I had not one new thing, but two!  I’ll get to them shortly, but first: our meal consisted of sandwiches that I made using English muffins:

They have a couples slices of cold cuts (turkey pastrami for me, smoked ham for Laura), a little smoked Gruyere cheese, mustard, cucumber, tomato, and roasted red pepper.  The sandwich was accompanied by a bowl of the chicken noodle soup my mom made a few days ago:

She used a cooked rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, whole wheat pasta, and a mix of regular chicken stock and unsalted chicken stock, so hopefully they averaged each other out and made the whole affair low-sodium.

Then we tried the first new thing: a Seckel pear.  I found these at Kroger a few days ago (I tossed the receipt and can’t remember how much I paid), and they look like regular pears, but are about half the size.  I thought they were adorable.  Here they are, with a regular-sized red pear in there as a size reference:

They look like any other pear when you cut them:

They also taste like every other pear too, and I love pears, so I really liked the Seckel pear.  If anything, the flavor was a little stronger than in other pears – as if someone shrunk a full-sized pear down to half its size but all the flavor remained.

4) Cheaters. Now on to the other new item.  I saw this product in a store while I was shopping in Ann Arbor yesterday, and was immediately intrigued.  It’s called Cheaters, and it’s labeled as “Guilt-Free! Squeeze Candy”.  The package says it has no sugar, fat, sodium, or gluten, and it also says “19 calories never tasted so good!” – to which I thought, “we’ll see about that!”  They cost $1.59 apiece, and I bought all 4 flavors:

There’s a little glare in the photo, but the flavors are Blueberry Cobbler, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cinnamon Apple Pie, and Banana Cream Pie.

The package is a joy to read.  On the back of it, it says “Eat it slow, enjoy it more!”  It also says “Congratulations! You are about to experience great tasting dessert candy. It’s ALL PLEASURE and NO GUILT!”  They’re not shy about selling this stuff!

Laura and I decided to try two of the flavors (I’m saving the other two flavors for another day).  First up: Banana Cream Pie.  The pouch is designed so you squeeze it directly into your mouth, but since we were gonna share it, we squeezed it onto spoons.  Plus, you can much more easily photograph the contents when they’re on a spoon, as I did here:  Ladies and Gentleman, Banana Cream Pie Cheaters:

I won’t mince words – it was gross. Laura and I both thought so.  It was way too sweet and tasted like medicine.  There was a bitter aftertaste, and it coated our throats like cough syrup does.  We only tried a spoonful each before moving on to Blueberry Cobbler:

This one tasted like blueberry-flavored Listerine to me.  Yuck.  I actually had 2 spoons of it, but that was enough.  I will say that my dad tried both these flavors later in the day, and liked them, so at least someone enjoyed the experience.

Cheaters is made by a company called ICC Candy, and according to their website, they specialize in guilt-free candy.  I was poking around a little bit, and discovered they also sell a product called Sinfully Delicious Dessert Spray.  You have to go here and check out their sales pitch.  They look like bottles of Binaca, but instead of freshening your breath, they coat your mouth with little bursts of Milk Chocolate Turtle or Key Lime Pie.  Um, no thanks.  If I see those for sale somewhere, I’m gonna pass.

Four new things in one day?

Keep it up, David!


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