Sunday, February 8, 2009

True Life: I'm a Carb Queen

Despite the proliferation of carb-counting diets and anti-bread campaigns in the past few years, I have remained a steadfast fan of all things starchy. One of my (many) favorite places in the grocery store is the bakery section--not only is the aroma of baking bread intoxicating, but there are also so many baked goods to examine and explore. Indeed, my kitchen is constantly stocked with English muffins, bagels, and bread. While the fresh stuff nearly always taste best, I've discovered a few packaged gems that I've grown to love in recent weeks.

Rudi's English Muffins
While these little rounds of joy cost a pretty penny ($3.99 per pack of 6), they provide the perfect fresh-baked texture for a variety of applications. So fluffy and perfect for soaking up flavor.
Rudi's produces several varieties: whole grain wheat, spelt, and multigrain with flax. Each variety provides 120-130 kcalories, 3 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. All except the multigrain variety are whole grain.
Suggested use:
*Crust for mini pizzas
*Accompaniment to tofu scramble
*Base for a breakfast sammie
*Vehicle for loads of PB:)
La Tortilla Factory EVOO Soft Wraps
These tortilla wraps enjoy widespread popularity across the food blogosphere; Hungry-Girl is just one of their well-known fans . While they are available in many major supermarkets such as Publix and Wal-Mart, I have a difficult time locating them in Durham--when I do have access to them at home, I am always sure to stock up. What's so amazing about these wraps? 1) They're big. 2) They're relatively low in kcalories. 3) They're stretchy--meaning that making monster wraps is a breeze!
These, too, are available in several varieties: traditional, multigrain, tomato basil, and rosemary. Each wrap contains just 100 kcalories (for the whole thing!), a whopping 13 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein, along with 3 grams of fat. While the ingredients list is a tad long and not as natural as other brands' (e.g., Rudi's Flax Wraps), they're a kcalorie bargain so that you can stuff it full of even more of your favorite ingredients.
Suggested use:
*Monster wraps
*Base for thin crust pizza
*Homemade tortilla chips
Arnold's Light Breads
Ya know those times when you want a sandwich, but don't want a heavy snack? Many turn to "diet" breads for this very purpose, which provide minimal kcalories for a serving of 2 slices of bread. However, many of these breads are not whole grain and lack the texture to make them worthwhile. Enter: Arnold's Bakery.
Arnold's makes three varieties: 100% Whole Wheat, 7 Grain, and Oatmeal. Only the 100% whole wheat is whole grain. Each 2-slice serving contains just 80 kcalories, 1 gram of fat, and 5 grams of protein.
Suggested use:
*Nighttime sammie
*Vehicle for mounds of cottage cheese
*However you enjoy your normal bread!
Rudi's Bagels
When I finally discovered these wonders in my local health food store (after coveting those of my fellow food bloggers'), I practically leaped for joy. Nutritious bagels of a reasonable size that don't taste like cardboard are hard to find. Rudi's delivers the goods once again.

Rudi's produces several varieties of these bagels: plain, cinnamon raisin, sweet wheat, and multigrain. The nutritional stats vary according to variety, but most provide 130-150 kcalories, 3 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Only the sweet wheat variety is whole grain.

Suggested use:
*Toasted and smothered with nut butter of choice (the perfect accompaniment to your morning smoothie)
*Spread with Laughing Cow Light, Tofutti, or light cream cheese (especially for cinnamon raisin variety)
*Sliced and baked to make homemade bagel chips
Well, that concludes my list of most recent grain-based faves. What bread products can't you live without?


Mel said...

i am a TOTAL carb queen too!! i cannot live without bran muffins, asiago cheese bread, or bagels... although i haven't had a bagel in awhile, now that i think about it... time to change that!! thanks for the great product suggestions!!

Maggie said...

you are a carb queen!!! i love carby carbs. all of those picks are awesome.

Whitney said...

Homemade tortilla and bagel chips?!? You're a genius! Could you give me some details? Like what temp and for how long?

Annie said...

my name is annie and im a carb addict. haha i always go straight for the bakery too!

*Andrea* said...

love this post! carbs = love. thanks for the review - i've been wanting to try those bagels for so long mmm

Marianne said...

Ain't nothing wrong with those carbs! I love a good sourdough bread - it's definitely my favourite. I'm also really partial to the english muffin. Which reminds me, that I have a pack in my freezer I've forgotten about!

Erica said...

I don't know how people completely give up or REALLy lighten up on carbs...that freaks me out :) I <3 the bread as well! Arnolds is one of my favorites. I've never tried rudi's!

Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) said...

I am ALL about the carbs. Cereal especially. However, I love me some Rudi's. Bagels, Sliced Bread, and especiall the WW wraps.

VeggieGirl said...


CeciLiA said...

Urghhh ... you have no idea how jealous I am of you guys!! I wish we have such yummy + healthy CARBY BREAD here in Perth (AUS) :( Oh well, lets hope we'll get it someday soon :0)

shelby said...

LOVE this post! I'm saving it for all of your brilliant ideas =)

My fav bread = EZEKIEL! They make the BEST hamburger buns.

Lauren said...

Rudi's makes great bread products!

ksgoodeats said...

I love carbs. carbyy, carbs, carbs. Here it goes down, down into my belly...

Oh gurrrl - CC on toast with cinnamon :D

La tortillas are the BEST wraps in all of creation!

I can't live without my Aunt Millie's English Muffins or Rudi's bagels.

¡Yo Soy Liz! said...

I'm gonna have to track down those soft wraps. They would be perfect for wraps to bring to work.

Eric said...

Carbs are great! Low-carb diets are so bad for the body on so many levels.

I couldn't live without bread, especially rye bread :)

Seuss said...

Caroline: I don’t know you. But oh lord do I see myself reflected in your behaviors/relationship with food. And I feel sad to see you eating low-cal/diet bread and other diet products and reading websites like Hungrygirl. It is, to be sure, sad for both of us. We DESERVE the real thing, the deliciousness of real 100-calorie soft bread, not to mention no feelings of guilt when we eat such bread/products. Not because it is “right” or healthier or whatever - because I believe it is how we become more real. The food may be just a metaphor. Your REALNESS shines through your posts - my wish for both of us to seek MORE realness, in all things; oh, and to trust, that, over time, the longer I give myself the real stuff - of real sugar (not stevia), healthy oils, bread, and who knows what else, love, sex, whatevah-the less I will be afraid of it never being enough. Funny, what never seems enough is the fake or light stuff. Sending you wishes for love and joy. And no shame - about anything - about anything we eat.

ChickPea said...

Mel: Mmm asiago cheese bread makes me think of those delish bagels at Panera!
Maggie: Thanks!
Whitney: I don't follow a specific recipe for those items, but I usually set the oven at 375* and check on them after 10 minutes.
Annie: Haha--it's the best section!
Andrea: I know! When I do gain access to the bagels, I savor them like you won't believe!
Marianne: Yum! Sourdough is pretty awesome...especially in the form of a pretzel:)
Erica: Yes, I totally agree--I could never be a carb-counter!
Courtney: Rudi's is def one of my favorite brands!
VeggieGirl: Indeed.
Cecilia: You have no starch bread?! What a tragedy! I hope things change soon!
Shelby: I've tried a few Ezekiel products, but I'll have to give them all a try after your rave review!
Lauren: Totally.
Eric: Ah, it's been so long since I've had rye bread...I'll put it on my list.
Seuss: I knew that I would get some negative feedback like this after posting the reviews of the light bread and lower-kcalorie wraps.
I think you're reading too much into my choice of bread products. I don't think that choosing these items occasionally indicates that I don't think myself worthy of love. I use these products in a healthy way--for whatever kcalories I may save by using them, I make up for by pairing them with more food. For example, when I use the wraps, I am sure to stuff them extra full with nutritious foods that I know my body needs. I appreciate your concern; however, I consume a healthy amount of kcalories every day even with these products in my diet. I agree that natural, real food is best, and I think I live up to that ideal on most occasions. I don't feel the need to fill a void, emotional or physical, after consuming "light" products. I'm sorry that you happen to disagree with my lifestyle, but I assure you that I am a happy, healthy young woman.

Seuss said...

It’s not that I don’t agree with your choices. It’s that I feel sorry for you, and for me too! Will we ever get to enjoy, without guilt, a warm slice of real bread, straight from the oven, or a full-fat blondie or brownie, or a piece of homemade cake? And I know you said you are healthy, but I also know that a while ago you said you didn’t get a period, so maybe the extra calories in real food would help you to get a period and truly be a healthy young woman in every sense of the words. I say all of this with only the kindest of intentions, and please understand that I myself am suffering with my own guilt towards food, so I am in no way trying to put you down or say I am better than you. It has been years since I was able to make choices without thinking about the calories. I am wishing you every happiness in your life, Caroline.

ChickPea said...

Seuss: Alright, I think I understand your meaning now. Yes, I think I will forever struggle with food in terms of letting myself indulge. However, as the months go by, I am improving little by little--it's all a part of a lifelong recovery process.
You are right, several months ago I did say that I did not get periods, but that has since changed, hence my saying that I am truly healthy woman. I thank you for reminding me that food should be enjoyed, and I wish you all the best in the future.

Seuss said...

Thanks girl,
I just had to write my second comment so you knew I wasn't writing to be mean! You're way ahead of me in terms of what you'll allow yourself to enjoy. But I will get there too!

Seuss said...

Oh, and congrats on getting your period back! I am happy for you, but jealous too! I recently went off the pill because my new doctor (who, unlike my old doctor, is knowledgeable about EDs and being underweight) and I decided that it doesn’t give you a real period, and therefore it’s not beneficial at all; all it does is give one a false sense of security. But I don’t know why I’m telling you all this! All I really wanted to say is that I am happy for ya!