It’s All About the Food

Hello friends!! Hope your weeks are off to a great start! I was all grumpy about returning to work yesterday, then I showed up and remembered how much I like it and had a pretty good Monday! :)

As promised, today’s post is all about the food. If you’re catching up, here are my other Chicago/Healthy Living Summit posts:

Deep Dish
The Summit

First off, I need to give props to my favourite treats provided during the conference. On Saturday, Athenos stepped it up for their sponsored break and had some delicious goodies.


All “my kind of food.” Tortilla chips with a feta dip (crazy delicious), hummus stuffed cucumber, chicken and feta skewers, watermelon/basil/feta skewers, legitimately tasty pita chips with more hummus. Thumbs up!

My favourite meal came on Sunday with the Bagel Thins sponsored breakfast.

They had a table set up where you could pick plain or low-fat cream cheese and choose all sorts of mix-ins for it. They then whipped up your speciality cheese on the spot. I thought it was a really neat idea.


This breakfast was already in line to be my favourite because I showed up starving after getting lost on the fun run. Any food at that point would have been scarfed down and claimed as the best meal ever! :P

Above photo credit goes to the amazing photog Arnold/Oroweat had around all weekend. Check out the photos here.


I was feeling something savoury after the hot and sweaty run. I called mine Upstream Cheese and added salmon, capers, cucumber, carrot, scallions, and a pinch of salt.


Taking pictures of taking pictures ;)


The bagel thins were just okay. I’m not a huge “thin bread” person. If I ate more bread it may be an issue, but I only have a couple slices a day, so I like to have the real hearty stuff when I do.


Where’s the rest of my bagel?? :P


I also jumped for joy when I saw Sunday’s breakfast had eggs + sausage. Saturday’s breakfast was all carbs and left me feeling icky after. This body needs some protein :)

A lot of bloggers were also handing out goodies over the course of the weekend. So happy I ran into Valerie! ;)


The only thing better than homemade business cards are business cards that come with chocolate…


After the satisfying breakfast on Sunday, Callie and I hit the road. But not without a very important stop first…


Sad fact: there are no Trader Joe’s in Canada. I’ve been reading about this store foreevveerrr on blogs and on the internets and was superduper pumped to finally check it out. For Canadians that have never heard of it, it’s just a healthy/organic store that carries a lot of neat products under the Trader Joe’s brand.


Happy shoppers!! (ps the above photo was taken with Callie’s camera!)


I got tons of great TJs suggestions from you guys, but I tried to keep my goodies to a minimum. First, because I already had two full bags of food to bring home with me. Secondly, it had to last the nine hours back home!


I picked this up to eat for lunch in the car.


The whole container was only 100 calories and 14g protein. The taste was a little off though, egg salad needs mayonnaise and egg yolk, this had neither.


Eaten on top of these crackers, which are quite tasty.

Callie and I then proceeded to snack on our Trader Joe’s goodies for the whole drive home. Me more so than her because I had both of my hands free and nothing better to do ;)


I had some of Callie’s peanut butter filled pretzels. I purposely did not buy these because I knew they would be a “danger food” to have in the house. They were beyond delicious, reminding me of a better version of peanut butter Ritz crackers.


I’m not crazy about these, but they make for a good quick chocolate fix, and the stats are a million times better than peanut M&Ms.


We have dried mango in Canada, but it’s always really hard to find dried fruit that isn’t sweetened. Why do they always add extra sugar to it??


Reminds me a lot of fruit leather, and very mango-ey.

The first time I saw this stuff on Paige’s blog, I freaked out. It looked amazing.

I was so amazed when I pulled out the banana and realized it was one big flattened piece! 
At first, I sandwiched some almond butter between it…


But the flavours weren’t quite right, so I added a little more AB and rolled it up.


Omgamazing. I can see this being the perfect pre-workout snack.

Callie and I also had a bunch of coupons in our swag bags that could only be used in the U.S. We stopped at a Krogers in Michigan to put them to use, but unfortunately they didn’t have a lot of what we were looking for. I decided to try out a Chobani for $1.19 (which is a crazy good price for Greek yogurt compared to Canada)



Topped with a Mix My Granola sample also from the Summit swag bag.


Loved the texture and flavour of the Chobani, plus it was super filling!! I wish we could get little tubs like this in Canada, it’s such a great way to get a little protein in.

Also bought at Trader Joe’s…

Clif flavours you can’t find in Canada, also at half the price they’re sold for in Canada.


Suflower seed butter and corn salsa.


New blue cheese Laughing Cow flavour that hasn’t made its way up north yet.

I always wondered how the U.S. Laughing Cow slices are 35 calories a piece while the Canadian ones are 45 calories for two. Check it out!


American version on the left, Canadian on the right. Who knew??

I combined my new Laughing Cow and corn salsa for lunch yesterday.


On a sandwich with smoked tofurkey.


Maybe an odd flavour combo, but it was positively delicious.


Meanwhile, I tried out the sunflower seed butter for breakfast this morning – on top of a yogurt bowl mixed with protein powder, blueberries, oatmeal cinnamon and syrup.

I’ve had plain, natural sunflower seed butter before and found it to be good, but a touch bitter. The Trader Joe’s stuff is lightly sweetened and salted and so much better. My gosh, I really loved it.

Last but not least, I picked up some new gum flavours!!


It’s a well-kept secret that I am an obsessive gum chewer. Truth of the matter is, I really love gum. So finding these new-to-me flavours was really exciting. So far the Stride citrus mint is my favourite!


I still have a lot of leftover coupons from the Summit that I can’t use in Canada. Once I get them organized I’ll be giving them away on the blog as a little consolation prize for those of you who couldn’t make it to the Summit – so stay tuned!


Question of the Day: What would be in your specialty cream cheese? I wish they had maple syrup at the table, because maple salmon would be mine!

Posted on August 17, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. Ugh, so jealous….. i should have planned my days in chicago better to include a trip to TJs!

    And maple salmon cream cheese sounds intriguing!

  2. i like the way you broke down your HLS recaps! this post was awesome to see/read. naturally, as i love food. good to hear going back to work wasn’t as horrible as you anticipated! it is nice when you do something you love! the photos of you taking photos is the best. i am not a bagel thin fan either, only because it doesnt taste or have the consistency of a chewy bagel. it is like a sandwich thin with a hole! i love your TJs finds! it was fun to see what you snagged. i have multiple jars of that corn salsa in my cupboards right now. i love it. and wow–what a difference in the cheese wedge slice! my costco JUST started carrying the chobani. i am not usually a flavored yogurt fan because of the sugar–but you are right, it is a great option to squeeze in extra protein and plus.. SO cheap. $10 for 12! my specialty cream cheese would definitely involve sun dried tomatoes and chunks of artichoke. and lots of garlic. if we are talking sweet, i would probably opt for a cinnamon peach cream cheese.

    LOVE YOU SUSAN! glad you are back from your trip, had a blast, all that jazz. it’s been fun to live vicariously through you.

    also, wanted to thank you for the comments yesterday. they meant a lot! your words always do.


  3. Funny – of all the blogs I follow yours was the only one that mentioned having anything but make your own cream cheese on Sunday’s breakfast. Protein whore! ;) just kiddinggg

    As a fellow gum addict, I LOVE the orbit watermelon. It tastes just like watermelon jolly ranchers. DELISH!

    Nicole G

  4. girl you made ALL the right TJs choices! i haven’t tried that corn salsa yet but it’s totally on my list of future tries! glad you scored big time :) and i love that the chocolate edamams have 7g of protein! wooo hooo!

  5. I used to be a huge gum-chewer, but then artificial sugar started tasting really funny to me so I gave it up. I’ve tried Glee, but it loses its flavor quickly. My favorite so far has been one with Xylitol that I picked up at Whole Foods.

    Trader Joe’s is my fave. I really have to make a trip there soon. We’re getting one not far from my apartment soon!

  6. LOVE that sunflower seed butter. It is my absolute favourite dipped with apple slices. Heaven. Not joking.
    Also, you look so pretty in all those photos! Lovely!

  7. Ditto on the obsessive gum chewing! I’m better than I used to be, but when I was studying for exams… watch out!! Your food photos are making me ridiculously jealous, especially the cheap Greek yogurt and unsweetened mango slices! Like honestly, what is it about Canadian dried fruit? Wouldn’t it be easier and less time consuming to just skip the putting-on-the-sugar step?!?

    Can’t wait to see you on Thursday! :)

  8. So jealous! I am making a trip to the States in the Fall and I CANNOT WAIT to hit up Trader Joes!!!

  9. It’s pretty unbelievable how different things get across the border! It seems so silly that the differences (between prices, brands, flavours, etc.) can be that substantial. Sigh. Maybe the upside is that it does feel more special when you do get to go over?

    Next stop for you MUST BE VANCOUVER! And we can make a trip to Seattle. ;)


  10. You got a lot of great stuff at TJ’s – to tell you the truth I went to the one by me and wasn’t too impressed. Maybe I should look for a different Trader Joe’s?
    Lovely eats, by the way! :-)

  11. Yay, I’m so glad you made it to TJ’s!! Now do you see why I’m obsessed?? ;)

    So great meeting you, Susan- glad you made it home safely. If you ever want to venture back down here, let me know!

  12. And now I’m hungry. Great food post. :)

  13. We don’t have a TJ’s near me either. I’ve been in one once but had to fly home with a stuffed carry on so couldn’t buy anything. It was torture. Looks like you got some great stuff!

    I like full fat, plain cream cheese but I might like some pecans in a sweet version, or cayenne to make it spicy.

  14. Rebecca Thomas

    All your food looks great. I eat well and exercise often through a lot of sports but your blog makes me feel like I’m a couch potato! If I make it to TO I would love to shared recipes!

    As for cream cheese
    Sweet: Blueberries and cinnamon
    Savory: Salmon, cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon on top

  15. Wow what tasty eats! One day I’ll make to the us and get to try all these amazing foods! x x

  16. The food is what matters most after all. :D And I always love “blogger in action” pics.

    That strident citrus mint gum is awesome!!

  17. LOVED this post, I love hearing about new foods!

    Sundried tomato, basil kalamata olive cream cheese. Mmmm


  18. Stupid TJ’s for not existing in Canada OR Florida!

  19. That corn salsa looks awesome!!!

    I’m also kind of obsessed with gum! When I went to San Diego last year I brought back so many different kinds and my bf was confused as to why I would bring back gum of all things!

    The Laughing Cow comparison is interesting! The US one is almost double!! That’s crazy.

  20. i love seeing your TJ selections — some of those i’ve never tried before! the corn salsa…MMM…so good, right?!!?

  21. Susan,

    So sorry we aren’t in Canada yet for you :( I’m glad that you enjoyed the yogurt AND got it at an awesome price. I’ll be sure you’re on the list for fun sampling when we make it to your turf. Keep up the awesome bloggin’!

    Communications Manager
    Chobani Greek Yogurt

  22. omg that corn salsa! my mom ALWAYS has that in her cupoard its like a standard item she just always has incase guests come over or dinner parties, she just takes it out and BAM so so so good!! i love taht you tried so many different things from TJ’s! the dark chocolate eddamame, thats a new one to me! looks so interesting, but salty and sweet? that combo can do no wrong!!

    i love that cream cheese station idea! what a great idea for a party!!

  23. I wish TJ’s would come to Australia!

    My specialty cream cheese would have mashed banana, cinnamon and a little bit of honey, YUM!

  24. I miss TJs! They don’t have them in my area and we loved shopping there. Those PB pretzels are like crack to both John and I :D

    I get those little Chobani containers. Perfect for a lunch.

    Wish I could have been there. Probably would have had a better time than being in Montreal……

  25. I’m so glad you had a great experience in Trader Joe’s. I am a fan of some of those goodies too.

  26. greensandjeans

    Extra has the BEST gum flavors, which I’ve been told are hard to find outside of the States. I feel like if I ever move I will have to stock up!

  27. “All “my kind of food.” Tortilla chips with a feta dip (crazy delicious), hummus stuffed cucumber, chicken and feta skewers, watermelon/basil/feta skewers, legitimately tasty pita chips with more hummus.”–
    I would have starved! omg i sense all weekend, i would have been in vegan/allergen hell. LOL

    Sunflower seed butter, those cliff and Z bars, lunas, the orbit gum, i can vouch for all of those products. mango..some batches ROCK and some are overdone and hard. it’s a crap shoot on the mango at tjs but when it works, it’s awesome as is flattened bananas. if you ever have a baby, they can teethe/gnaw/gum on dried fruit all day. tj’s saved the teething days in this casa!

  28. Hey Susan,

    You can totally buy those Chobani in TO. I can look up the name of the place I went if you want. But….they were almost $4 each!!!! Ridonkulous! Deeeelish but not worth that price for me.

    Love the photog-in-action shots!

  29. I LOVE Trader Joe’s! I have yet to purchase something that I didn’t rave about. The TJ’s Sunbutter is truly magical! It has the perfect amount of salty and sweet.


  30. I don’t know how anyone lives without a Trader Joe’s in their hood. I went through serious withdrawal when I lived in Belgium and Hawaii. You will love the sunflower seed butter, the chocolate peppermint luna bar, and the Clif mojo. And everything else. At least you got to drive and didn’t have to worry about limited baggage space and transport!

  31. Anitashesconnected

    Sunflower seed butter – looks interesting! Will have to try that sometime for sure, it looks like you can find lots of great stuff at Trader Joe’s!

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