First Healthy Food Finds for 2013

Are you ready for some new food finds to add to your healthy shopping cart? I know I am! It’s time for me to toss those holiday high calorie, low nutrient leftovers and start feeding my body more healthy good eats. At first the sugary, high fat stuff tasted really great but at some point it became over – kill and now I’m craving salads, vegetables and fruit. Hmmmm I guess if I listen carefully, my body tells me what it needs. Since having foot surgery I have been craving protein and red meat. It’s kind of strange for me since I don’t usually care too much for red meat or large portions of protein and go for the side dishes on my plate before the protein. Again – I need to listen to what my body is telling me it needs.

TJ'S 21 Seasoning Salute

This seasoning blend has been a staple in my pantry for years. We love it sprinkled on a white or sweet baked potato as well as veggies and fish.

TJ'S 21 Seasoning Salute

It contains all real ingredients with no added salt or sugar.

TJ's Frozen Peppers

If you have followed my blog for very long you know I love fresh produce. Since having my foot surgery I can’t drive, which means driving to the grocery store on a whim to get fresh produce for recipes is no longer an option. This has lead to discovering how convenient frozen vegetables can be. First they are economical, already washed, cut and ready to use. Since they are frozen at the peak of their freshness they are nutrient rich. The bonus is there is no spoilage. You just gotta love that! I still prefer fresh over frozen but right now in my life frozen produce is a meal plan lifesaver.

TJ's Frozen Pineapple

I need fast and easy foods right now and I surely don’t want to stand and cut and cube a fresh pineapple. Use in smoothies, Hawaiian Pizza, mix with fat free Greek Yogurt for breakfast or a snack. Frozen bananas (I freeze my over ripe ones)  a three berry blend, blueberries, mangos, peaches and cherries also happen to be in my freezer right now. They can all be used frozen in smoothies or thaw in the microwave in seconds on defrost then mix with fat free Greek yogurt for parfaits, tossed into hot oatmeal or made into Berry Chia Jam. Any brand will do just make sure they don’t contain added sugar.

TJ's Frozen Leeks 0x480)

These are one of my favorite frozen food finds. Fresh leeks are not something I keep on hand, they are something I only purchase when I know I am going to prepare certain recipes. These are so amazing to keep in the freezer, they are already cleaned and sliced which is a huge time saver. Perfect for using in Split Pea Beef & Barley Soup.

TJ'S Frozen Artichoke Hearts

No Trader Joe’s where you live? Don’t worry any brand of frozen artichoke hearts will do. Hubby Tom took me to Trader Joe’s and I stocked up on frozen goodies like this. Thaw these out and use them in pasta dishes like this Antipasto-Style Penne, or Homemade Healthy Pizzas, salads or my favorite Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip.

TJ's Rice

This frozen Peruvian Style Rice is so flavorful and goes well with Mexican food like Crockpot Mexican Chicken or Chicken Cheese Enchiladas.

TJ's Chimmichuri Rice

Buy two bags of this as you are going to want it again soon. Trust me.

Amy's Light & Lean Black Bean & Cheese Enchilada

Amy’s frozen foods are so good.  Daughter Katy went grocery shopping for me and chose a few prepared frozen meals so I would have some easy lunch options when I find myself home alone while recuperating. This is so tasty and filling.

Amy's Black Bean & Cheese Enchilada

A meal for under 250 calories is a good deal. Yes, I know frozen meals do have a higher sodium count but I don’t have issues with sodium or high blood pressure – in fact I have just the opposite with low BP! Amy’s frozen entrees can be found in most grocery stores in my area. They are in with the other frozen health food type items.

Natures Path Heritage Flakes

Hubby Tom’s favorite cereal! Shhh – don’t tell him I like it too. It’s so good over some fat free Greek Yogurt and a little fruit or served with a splash of unsweetened Almond milk. In my area this is available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s (best price), health food stores and regular grocery stores.

Natures Path Cereal

It’s organic, Non-GMO which means it contains no genetically modified organisms, is made from whole grains, contains 5g of fiber per serving and only 120 calories for a big 3/4 cup serving! The addition of barley malt extract gives it a slightly sweet flavor without being too sugary. It gives you something to crunch on. The flavor reminds hubby Tom of a boyhood favorite – oat flakes which is no longer made. Nostalgia is a good thing!

Nutmeg Notes


Let me first welcome all the new readers to the blog! I’m glad you found me. If you are a regular reader it’s great to have you reading and I hope you will all feel comfortable enough to leave a comment. It’s a lot more fun for me to blog if I get to know who is reading and following along. 🙂 Be sure to use the tabs at the top of the home page to read my own weight loss story and see my photos.

How To Navigate Nutmeg Notebook

You can browse all the recipes posted here by using the Recipe Tab at the top of the home page. It takes you to a self explanatory navigation page where you can search recipes by different categories. Each recipe has a photograph and nearly all contain nutritional information as well as Weight Watchers Points Plus Values if you are following that program.

Printable Shopping Lists

If you use the My Kitchen tab at the top of the home page a drop down menu gives you the option of a Trader Joes or Whole Foods tab for printable shopping lists that also contain links to products that have been reviewed on the blog. The Lunch Box tab gives you ideas for packing lunches for yourself or your family complete with links to recipes. Explore and have fun with it.

Foot Notes

Yesterday was my 4 week post foot surgery appointment with my doc. Things are progressing along. I did find out that I have had an allergic reaction to the self dissolving sutures used in the layers under the skin. I will spare you the gory details and just say that my incisions have been a little inflamed, very tender and sore (not infected) and now I know why. He said it’s rare but does happen. This too shall pass.

I can experiment and see if any of my regular shoes fit – most likely my athletic shoes which have more toe room. I can go back and forth with them and my post op ortho shoe depending on how things feel on any given day. I can do some toe exercises to try and limber up the ligaments in my toes as my second toe still has some curvature to it. Hopefully once the swelling goes down it will be better but he thinks that toe will always have some curvature. Bummer.

When I feel ready and can wear a regular shoe I can try driving again. He said right now it wouldn’t cause any harm to the bones but “not to hurry into doing anything”. It’s important to be able to brake the car hard if needed and I don’t feel like my incisions can handle that kind of pressure on them yet. When I am ready to try driving I’m going to have hubby Tom take me to an empty parking lot and let me experiment and make sure I can handle the pressure on my foot. When I told the doctor that he laughed and said it’s just like a teenager learning how to drive! Yep that’s what we did with our kids when they were first learning how to drive – we took them to empty parking lots to practice.

He gave me an application to get a temporary handicap car hanger tag so I can use the handicap parking stalls once I start driving myself. All those steps saved – help my foot from swelling.

 No exercising allowed – yet. In three weeks I have x-rays taken again and depending on how things look inside he will decide if I can walk a little on the treadmill or outside. At least I have that to look forward to. 🙂


I love reading your comments!

What is your body telling you it needs?

Have you already tried any of these products?

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  1. MaryFran says:

    Thank you for this post. So many times people scorn frozen foods. I have always said that they have a time and a place. You just proved it! 🙂

    1. Tami says:

      Amen to what you wrote MaryFran, “they have a time and a place” indeed they do!

  2. Trude says:

    I had no idea TJ’s had frozen leeks! I only use them for this one soup recipe (for now, anyway), and then I only use one of the two in the package that come fresh. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that next time. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Tami says:

      You are welcome Trude! They are so handy and now prepping required – love it!

  3. Amanda @flecksofgreen says:

    The artichoke hearts are really good! My body is always telling me it needs veggies!

    1. Tami says:

      Mine too Amanda – now I just need to do it!

  4. Sharon says:

    I’ve tried several of those things…once we FINALLY got a Trader Joes last summer, I wanted to try EVERYTHING. We love the frozen things like the rice dishes, risotto, etc. So handy and so delightful to always know (without looking even though I do) that I can pronounce the ingredients!!

    1. Tami says:

      So glad you are enjoying your Trader Joe’s Sharon. There are so many delightful finds in that store!

  5. Carol says:

    Happy New Year Tami & to your family. A quiet one was spent at our house!!

    All your healthy food finds look so good…wishing we had such great choices here.I keep wanting to try Amy’s meals but again, not sure if anyone carries the light ones.I’ll have to keep looking.

    I suffered a sugar overload over the holidays and today was Day 1, new year back on PointsPlus….weigh in last night wasn’t pretty! 🙁

    A couple of things happening at the Cafe…not so good!

    Hope you are soon able to be out and about! Take care.

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Carol! I know we live in the land of plenty when it comes to food choices. It’s good to be past the sugar overload and on to lighter eating! Good for you for getting back on Your WW plan.

      I’m sorry there are some things happening that aren’t so good at the cafe. I will have to pop over and see what’s up.

      Wishing you all the best in the New Year. 🙂

  6. Beverly says:

    Happy New Year! I love these posts! Unfortunately, there are no Trader Joe’s anywhere near me. 🙁 I will be taking a closer look at the frozen section the next time I’m at the grocery store.

    1. Tami says:

      Any brand of frozen veggies work I just happened to be at Trader Joe’s the day I stocked up and photographed my bounty. It is amazing how much variety there is available in the frozen foods section these days.

      Happy cooking in the New Year! 🙂

  7. Lori says:

    Glad your foot is progressing so well, other than the allergies.

    I love frozen veggies. Frozen veggies are easy to prepare and stock up on and I don’t have to worry about them going bad. I always have a couple pounds of broccoli florets in my freezer at all times!

    1. Tami says:

      I do like that I don’t have to worry about things going to waste with the frozen veggies and fruits. It’s economical and so convenient! Perfect for us right now.

      Happy cooking in the New Year!

  8. Jody - Fit at 55 says:

    HUGS Tami!!! So sorry about the foot things… time.. patience is the hardest part. I would be a bit*h by now! 😉 HUGS again!!

    I used to buy that seasoning all the time from TJs until I found Costco had a similar one in their large size & since I use it A LOT well, I buy there now. They also have frozen organic fruit but not the pineapple – I did see organic peaches today!!! They also have that great organic berry mix. I buy frozen fruit & veggies – just works better for me & they say lots of times more vitamins due to the travel process if you don’t buy local.

    Just sending HUGS Tami!!!!!

    OH, I always listen to my bod & do what is right for me. After all these years, I know there is no one way! 🙂

    1. Tami says:

      Patience is the hardest part Jody! I will have to look at Costco for the seasoning thanks for the heads up on that. I also buy the organic berry blend at Costco – so good!

      Thank you for the hugs! 🙂

  9. Sue says:

    Wished I would have read your post earlier in the day. We took our out of town visitors to TJ’s this afternoon. I also bought the frozen leeks. The last time I cooked a recipe that called for leeks, I had to call around to various stores to find them. The check-out lady commented on how nice it is to have them ready to go in your freezer. I will add your food finds to my next TJ’s shopping list. Thanks for the information.

    1. Tami says:

      Sue I have gone to the store to get leeks for recipes only to find they don’t have any! Now I can keep the bag of frozen ones on hand and not worry about it.

      Happy Shopping!

  10. Veronica says:

    I think your body is smarter than mine. Mine says “hamburger with fries and some chips and fiesta ranch dip please.” I think it does make a difference if you are mostly living healthier and go off track–I’ve been off track for almost a year so my body is all confused as to what it really needs. Which is a big kick in the rear! lol!

    I love Amy’s frozen entrees too! I rarely buy them b/c of the price but I remember getting an Indian platter last (I think it may have been vegan) and it was sooo good.

    The inflamed stitches sounds like no fun at all. Hope they are all dissolved soon so you won’t have that going on! And speaking of driving around a parking lot with hubby, that’s how mine proposed to me. He was teaching me to drive stick shift in the parking lot of my high school. Right when I was getting it finally, he told me to stop and I was like “No, I’m finally doing it!” and he repeated for me to stop and I was kinda mad-lol. That’s when he proposed. It was such a surprise–don’t know if anyone has ever been proposed to while learning to drive-haha.

  11. Tami says:

    I have tried several of Amy’s Indian entrees and all have been delicious.

    Thank you for sharing your marriage proposal story that is so awesome! I think you might be the one and only with that story! Love it! 🙂

  12. Roz@weightingfor50 says:

    Hi Tami. Happy New Year to you and your family!!! Glad your foot is “coming along” despite the complication. Your post makes me want to grab my passport and cross the border to Trader Joe’s today. 🙂 Take care!

    1. Tami says:

      If you do get across the border you have to check out TJ’s! Thanks for the well wishes and Happy New Year to you!

  13. Judy says:

    Perfect timing as usual Tami–I am headed to Trader Joe’s tomorrow and am going to stock up on some of your suggestions–you haven’t steered me wrong yet on anything you have shared on your blog!! Yummy! yummy!
    I also enjoy your “tabs” very helpful!!
    Glad to hear the foot is healing–a little slower than you’d like but you’re going to make it!! Figured this way we get more blogs from you!! Yay!
    Happy New Year!

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Judy,
      I’m glad that this food find post was so timely for you! The last time I was in TJ’S there were lots of new to me products. It’s a fun store to browse in – well when it’s not crowded that is! Our store is always packed with shoppers unless we get there right after they open.

      It’s good to know you find the tabs to be useful. I always wonder if people notice them and have thought that they kind of disappear into the background but don’t know how we would display them differently. Blog design is not my area of expertise. 🙂 It’s always nice to get feed back from those of you who are using the blog. I’m always open to suggestions of how to make things better!

      Happy shopping! Wishing you a New Year Filled with bliss!

  14. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    My body has definitely been telling me that it needs veggies!

    I use TJ’s 21 Seasoning Salute a lot. I’ll have to look for the frozen leeks and artichoke hearts.

    Glad the foot is making progress. I think you have a great attitude! Good job!!!

    1. Tami says:

      We have to listen to that internal voice that is calling for fruits and veggies!

  1. More Amazing Healthy Food Finds » Nutmeg Notebook says:

    […] fruit and yogurt bowl for some added crunch and this works nicely. A couple weeks ago I shared about Heritage Flakes made by the same company. These are sold in many regular grocery stores, Whole Foods, Trader Joes […]

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