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Bakery

Duncan Hines – Perfect Size For One Mug Cake – Confetti Cake

Posted in Bakery, Confectionaries

Now I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when I saw pictures of these new mug cakes circling the internet. The mug cake idea isn’t something new, and it usually requires more ingredients, time, and effort than it’s worth than just to make yourself an entire damn cake. Originally I decided to pass on sampling these cakes, but then I had a change of heart for some reason on Thursday. I ventured to my local Walmart and tracked down 9 of the 18 flavors that they have released. You read that right, 18!

After piling them into my hand basket and heading through the self check out, because there was NO way that I planned to subject myself to the awkward conversation that would most likely ensue between myself in the cashier about why I am binge buying all the flavors of mug cakes they carry, $22.50 later, I had a small stash of mug cakes surely to last me to the apocalypse. I also neglected to read the box any more than a brief skim to see if I needed anything other than water to make them and failed to see that each box contained 4 cakes – so I plan to use these pouches as currency when said apocalypse hits us. I decided to start with one that seemed pretty fail safe to me – Confetti Cake.

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Prep is pretty straight forward for this cake, pour mix into mug, add water, mix until smooth, microwave for a minute and a half and booyah, one personal sized mug cake. I think where I went wrong, which isn’t even wrong, was that I used a large mug. I don’t know if you have ever microwaved instant oatmeal, but that stuff has a tendency to EXPLODE in the microwave if you don’t give it enough space to expand. I thought this might be true of the cake, but it only ended up filling just under 3/4 of the mug, making it look slightly underwhelming – it also doesn’t help that the picture on the box shows the mug nearly full of cake. Then I came to the stark realization that the best part of the cake was missing, THE FROSTING. Frosting be damned, I pressed on.

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I settled in at my desk to continue to watch whatever weirdness I could find on Twitch.tv while my mug cake cooled. Upon first fork (hah that sounds funny) I was pleasantly surprised that the mug concoction acted, smelled, and looked like cake. Maybe you’re onto something Duncan Hines. I must say that the first bite was a little… lack luster? I mean, it was decent, but it kind of almost tasted more like a confetti pancake? Don’t get me wrong, I pretty much devoured the entire thing in about 5 bites, and would eat another one, but it didn’t immediately grab me. Also I can’t tell if it leaves a weird aftertaste or I just need to brush my teeth. I will report back after I indulge in another mug cake later this week.

The package suggested replacing the water with milk, and adding fresh fruit to the mix for extra flavor. I’m sure the milk would make it a little more rich flavor, and I honestly would probably opt to add the fruit on top after the cake has cooked, but that is just me. I think the next time I opt to make this flavor, I will add a little raspberry jam to the top. All in all, if you’re into vanilla/confetti cake, I would say that this is a solid buy.




Found at Walmart for $2.50

April 12, 2017
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Nature Valley Granola Cups – Almond Butter

Posted in Bakery, Snack Bars

I bought these about a month ago and in true snack hoarder fashion, I totally forgot that I had them tucked away in a Target bag for a rainy day. Well I guess that works because it’s raining outside today in sunny California. Granola anything is something that I can live with or without. It has never been something that I have been like “Wow! I could really go for some granola right now!” but when I saw these, I was a bit intrigued. How much can you really do to jazz up granola that hasn’t already been done? Make it salty and sweet, cover it in chocolate, etc.
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I am notorious for snacking while at the computer. I picked up this bad habit from late nights gaming and chatting on IRC (just typing that instantly makes me feel old) and lately I have been trying to avoid the old standbys of candy and chips – so these totally swooped in and saved the day, until I had a moment of panic. Did I just buy something with a yogurt center? Don’t get me wrong, I like to enjoy granola in my coconut yogurt, but the dairy stuff? Oh boy. Luckily after about 3 seconds of reading, I realized it was almond butter, all right in the world again.

These babies are a little bit bigger than an American half dollar coin. I was hoping for something a little more bite size, but I guess if I didn’t have the mouth the size of a small mouse, they would be. Upon first bite, the flavor of honeyed granola is very apparent as well as cinnamon/brown sugar. The cup portion isn’t as brick like as a normal Nature Valley granola bar that will literally shatter a tooth if you don’t bash it on the counter a few times before enjoying, which makes it nice. The almond butter is smooth and creamy, but not very exciting. My major qualm with this snack is that I feel that the almond pieces on top are a little too large. Sometimes almonds can be like small rocks when chewing and I ran into that with one of the cups I was enjoying. Overall I enjoyed the flavor and it really satisfied my wanting of a sweet snack without it being something that was 110% sugar.

Word to the wise, don’t pop the entire thing in your mouth. Have you ever seen a dog try and eat a large spoonful of peanut butter? It pretty much went like that.

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Found at Target for $3.59

April 6, 2017
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Pop-Tarts – Gone Nutty! PB&J Strawberry

Posted in Bakery, Confectionaries

Pop-Tarts were one of those foods that I always wanted as a kid but rarely ever had. I can’t say that I blame my Mom for denying me such a sugary “breakfast” food item. Even as an adult I will rarely indulge in Pop-Tarts. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were a staple of my lunches growing up. I was (and still am) a very picky eater so my Mom knew that she could never go wrong with one of these bad boys. Even now I get the occasional hankering for some fluffy white bread slathered with creamy peanut butter and some jelly. Always strawberry jelly, don’t give me any of that grape blasphemy.

I have tried the other Gone Nutty! flavors and thought they were pretty decent, but with the inclusion of jelly to the mix, I was slightly apprehensive about the combination of the two. Actually I am having flashbacks of the peanut butter and jelly M&Ms that came out a couple of years ago that I thought were absolutely gross – at least when eaten together.

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Now I am from the camp of eating Pop-Tarts uncooked. I honestly do not see the appeal of a hot Pop-Tart, but to each their own. The idea of a hot peanut butter and jelly sandwich sounds even more disgusting if you ask me. So I sampled this in my usual fashion, straight out of the package.

I took one bite and originally all I could taste was peanut butter. One complaint I have about Pop-Tarts is how FREAKING DRY they are. I guess they might soften up if you toast them, but good grief the corners are like the Sahara in my mouth. I finally got to the strawberry part and I must say… not impressed. They weren’t bad by any means, but between the copious amounts of pastry, whatever the “frosting is on top” and the peanut butter, the strawberry jelly is pretty subdued.

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Texture: 3/5 – I like the crunchiness that the sprinkles on top give to the frosting. It reminds me of my favorite Poptart, the frosted strawberry ones. But man oh man are these dry. Consume with a beverage.

Smell: 4/5 – These smelled like elementary school lunch. Mostly peanut butter with an undertone of strawberry jelly.

Appearance: 3/4 – I think I would have opted for red frosting than brown – but when I think of the opposite color scheme of red frosting with brown sprinkles it doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing. I also found that the frosting wasn’t evenly applied to each tart.

Taste: 2.5/5 – These fall into the meh category for me. They weren’t awful but they weren’t a home run for me either. I think it was mostly because I was expecting a lot more flavor from the jelly portion than there was. I felt like the tart outside… crust… holding vessel…? and the peanut butter completely buried the strawberry taste for me. Had the frosting on the outside been a strong peanut butter flavor or even the pastry portion and just had strawberry filling, I would have probably liked this more. I would not buy these again.

February 3, 2015
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Oreo Cookies – Limited Edition – Root Beer Float

Good Morning lovelies! How is everyone doing today? I figured since I have done a couple reviews of Oreos this week that we could continue the trend and give the limited edition root beer float Oreos a go. I stopped drinking soda in 2005 – it was really hard, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what a Coke or Pepsi tastes like anymore. The only two flavors that really stick out in my mind are Dr. Pepper (which was my soda of choice back then) and root beer. My favorite root beer to drink was IBC, but it had to be ice cold. Yum! I picked up these Oreos at Safeway and decided to give them a go. I was curious how they were planning on capturing the flavor of root beer without it tasting overly artificial, not to mention it was kind of hard to wrap my brain about an Oreo tasting like a soda.

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Golden Oreos seem to be the thing lately – and I’m kind of impartial to that. Call me a purist I guess, but at the same time there are flavors that were created that would only work with a golden Oreo cookie. When I first opened the package I was definitely greeted with the smell of root beer. My only real complaint lately with all the flavored creme Oreos is that it is two globs that fight for space in the middle of the cookie. To me, this does not seem like an equal bite if you were to bite into the cookie as far is flavor is concerned, why not make it a fancy little swirl so you get the best of both worlds?

I twist open my first Oreo and ate the cream and was surprised at how much like root beer it tasted. Granted, because it is not the soda itself, you miss the fizz but I don’t think the flavor was all that bad. Now what I thought was pretty bad was the aftertaste. I don’t know if its from the mixture of artificial flavors and natural or what is going on but the aftertaste was pretty much horrible. I would liken it to tasting the smell (you know what I mean!) of cat pee. Yep. That bad. So to get rid of the gross aftertaste, I decided to chase it with another one. It was alright, but the creme was more notable versus the root beer flavoring. I kind of want to pop off a couple of chocolate Oreo cookies and give them a try with the root beer creme. Actually. Be right back.

Okay so that was really good. Nabisco, take note, maybe give chocolate a try next time. I feel like the chocolate really complimented the root beer flavor, where as the golden cookie overpowered the flavor, on the flip side, the cookie dough Oreos taste better with a chocolate cookie than the golden. Anywho…

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Texture: 4/5 – These have the texture of a run of the mill Oreo. I’m not sure if it is my brain playing tricks on me, or if there is something in the creme but you get a hint of the tingly fizzy taste on your tongue.

Smell: 4/5 – These Oreos smell more like cream soda than a root beer float. They smell really sweet with a root beer float undertone. Unfortunately I feel that these smell better than they taste.

Appearance: 3/5 – Nothing fancy about these Oreos. They look like you would expect.

Taste: 2.5/5 – These were not the best limited edition Oreos I have tried. Combining them with the chocolate cookie seemed to really dull the gross aftertaste and I feel that the chocolate complimented the flavors better. Because the normal creme part was so sweet, I feel that it overpowered the root beer portion and tasted more like cream soda than a root beer float, plus we all know that the best part of a root beer float is the ice cream anyways. I was impressed that they managed to convey the fizzy taste of drinking a soda without any actual carbonation. It would have been neat to see what they would have tasted like with some sort of Pop Rocks type candy mixed in to the creme as well. The aftertaste is what REALLY killed these for me. I have noticed that there are a lot of people singing the praise of these Oreos, and some, like myself who think they don’t live up to the hype. Grab yourself a tray and see for yourself, as for me, these will end up on the table in the lunchroom at work today.

August 21, 2014
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Oreo Cookies – Limited Edition Cookie Dough

While meandering through Target today, trying to remember what I actually came there for, I spotted these on a front endcap as I walked through market. I somewhat recently tried the Baskin Robbins Oreo cake batter ice cream and I imagined that these would taste similar to that. Or maybe those chocolate chip covered Oreos that people see on Pinterest, but always turn out these huge hockey puck cookies that to me, don’t taste all that great. I threw a package in my cart and continued on my trek through Target – which by the way, I left without buying the one thing I really needed to buy.

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Nabisco has really been trying to up their Oreo game lately – and I feel like they are the only ones that are trying to come out with a lot of limited edition items. The only other brand that I see doing a lot of new flavors are Pringles. Chocolate chip cookie dough is my go to flavor when it comes to ice cream, that is when I could still eat ice cream. I would also say that I probably enjoy raw cookie dough more than I enjoy baked cookies. There is something so good about eating a spoonful of cold cookie dough. We will just pretend that it doesn’t have raw eggs in it, alright?

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I was kind of expecting these Oreos to be like the peanut butter Oreos (not to be confused with the Reese’s Oreos). You are expecting to have peanut butter in the middle, but instead you get peanut butter flavored creme, good, but not great. The outside of the package boasts that the creme is made with ‘chocolately chips’ but upon twisting my first Oreo open, they were hardly noticeable. I am from the school of Oreo eaters that twist open the cookie, eat the creme center, then eat the cookies. I feel that Nabisco could have gone either way with a chocolate cookie or a golden cookie with this one, but being a chocolate lover, I’m glad they decided to go with the chocolate cookie outside.

The creme was really tasty. I think the ‘chocolately’ chips were more chocolate shavings than anything, but you definitely got the flavor profile of raw cookie dough. My favorite part of chocolate chip cookies is the brown sugar, and that flavor is definitely present in these. The only thing that I would have changed would be that the chocolate in the cookie dough was more chunk like, but thats just a personal preference.

Could we also take a moment and address that Nabisco should really get into the cookie spread game and bust out some different flavored Oreo cookie butters? I know I’m probably not alone in wanting some delicious cookies and creme cookie butter across my breakfast toast.

Texture: 4/5 – The texture of the creme is what you would expect from an Oreo. The chocolate chips neither enhance or detract from the texture of the cookie.

Smell: 5/5 – These definitely smell like chocolate chip cookies to me and they smell delicious.

Appearance: 3/5 – I only give this a middle of the road rating because you can’t really jazz up an Oreo. The pictures on the outside of the bag…tray? don’t really match what the inside looks like, but that’s okay. I am still going to eat the hell out of these regardless of what they look like.

Taste: 4.5/5 – Out of all the limited edition Oreos that I have tried, I would venture to say that these rank in one of the top spots on my list. The center is buttery, creamy, brown sugar-y (is that a word?) and delicious, and the cookie outside brings the crunch making this cookie the complete package. I would be okay if Nabisco decided to ditch some of their other flavors that are old stand-bys and replace one with this flavor. In fact I would probably be more apt to buy these than regular Oreos – ooooh I said it. Go try them!

August 17, 2014
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GoPicnic – Chocolate Almond Butter & Croissant

Posted in Bakery, Bread

Remember when I used to update my blog on the regular? Yeah me too. Somehow, we now find ourselves in August, 8 months from my last update. A while back I posted how life has been crazy and I have been trying to figure out how to balance both life and blogging. As you can see, I still have yet to find that balance, but dammit, I’m going to try and make it work. I recently moved, so I have been getting settled into my new place and finally have internet. I have also been working like a mad woman at my job. While leiserly clicking around on my time card recently, I noticed that I have clocked over 100 hours of overtime this year. So, if you have been wondering where I have been, there is your answer.

I have quite the stockpile to work through, and my partner in crime never fails to give me grief about how I buy things with the intention of reviewing them, but they end up sitting in the cabinet never touched. Boo. So that needs to change, not only because I now look like a junk food dooms day prepper, but I honestly miss blogging.

My most recent snack food endevor was a small meal kit that was picked up at Target. The entire line of products doesn’t really appeal to me, mostly because I don’t like buying things that I know I won’t eat everything in the box. That is why I have a hard time buying things like Lunchables – because I am lactose intolerant, I never end up eating the cheese, so I feel like it is a waste (though not to mention that Lunchables are hardly food to begin with, but they are great in a pinch at work). When I saw this kit, I was originally turned off by the apricot fruit leather, because I am not a fan of apricots, but over on my personal blog, I gave myself the challenge of trying new foods so, I went with it.

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This meal comes in a cute little box that easily fits in a purse – although I would not consider this a meal per say, the calorie count would make it one.

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The contents were slightly underwhelming when opening the box. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but something a little more visually appealing for sure. I was concerned that because somehow they say that the croissant will stay fresh until the end of this year, that it would be dry and flavorless. I started with the fruit leather, and was actually quite surprised that I liked it. The flavor was sweet and the leather portion was chewy but not where I felt like I was having apricot jerky.

Next I moved on to the croissant and almond butter. While I was training to run a half marathon (which never came to fruition, though I am proud that I can run much longer than I previously could) I would often look for snacks that runners could carry and eat while running distances. A few friends suggested the single serve packs of Justin’s Almond Butter. Yeah, about that. Almonds and I have a relatively new forged relationship, and I just could not get into the taste, or the texture. I felt like I was eating sand. Too gritty, not enough flavor to off set it. I thought with the addition of chocolate that I might have a better experience – but that really didn’t turn out to be the case. One thing I think could be included with this kit would be a small knife or if the peanut butter was put in a small tub instead of a squeezable package.

I prefer to dip things like bagels and what not into peanut butter instead of spreading it on it, and that’s how I chose to eat this. I was actually surprised that the croissant was moist, buttery, and flaky, despite being able to sit on a shelf for a year. I was not a fan of the chocolate almond butter, but I honestly think it’s just a personal preference, not that it was bad. I was expecting something sweeter like Nutella, but the flavor to me was a bit underwhelming.

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Texture: 3/5 – The fruit leather was perfectly made. It was chewy and not tough, and I would definitely eat it again. The croissant was airy and light, like you would expect. I was honestly surprised by this and would by these in a stand alone packaging. The chocolate almond butter was a little gritty for my liking, but when combined with the croissant it was not nearly as noticeable.

Smell: 4/5 – The fruit leather smelled like fresh apricots, not artificial or sugary sweet. The croissant smelled like a typical croissant. Surprisingly the chocolate almond butter smelled more of almonds than of chocolate despite it’s appearance.

Appearance: 4/5 – I liked that this snack came in a cute recycled box that I could toss into my bag without worrying that the croissant would become a pancake. The packaging of the fruit leather was nice. The croissant and chocolate almond butter were both in no frills packaging. I would have liked to have seen a little more functional packaging on the almond butter, but that is just personal preference.

Taste: 3.5/5 – The fruit leather was my favorite portion of this box, despite having the most apprehension about it. The flavoring from the apricots was a nice balance of fresh and sweet. I would buy these stand alone to put in my lunch. The croissant was pretty good, but was not anything spectacular. I did not care for the chocolate almond butter and would have preferred something a bit sweeter in its place. Maybe if they punched up the chocolate flavoring just a smidge more, I would be interested in trying it again. Overall I am pretty indifferent about this pack, and would take it or leave it. Nice to throw in your bag if you’re into the flavor profile, but nothing that you couldn’t put together at home for a little less cashola.

August 16, 2014
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Starbucks – Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuchino & Lemon Cake Pop

Confession time – did you know that I did a brief stint as a Starbucks manager? Working for Starbucks was actually pretty fun. I always took the complicated drinks as a fun challenge and liked making friends with my regular customers. The major confession is though that I cannot stand coffee at all. When I was little, I was diagnosed with chronic migraines (which I still have to this day) and my doctor prescribed a small cup of coffee a day. No matter how much cream, sugar, or whatever my Mom put it in the coffee, it was still beyond gross to me, and I still share this feeling. The hardest part of my Starbucks training was the fact that I had to try every drink I made, which not only sent me bouncing off the walls because I don’t drink soda or energy drinks, so my caffeine intake is pretty minimal, but they all tasted gross to me.

Since I am full of confessions today, my heart actually is with Dutch Bros. Coffee, but sadly the closest one to me is way out of the way on my route to work. I finally figured out how to tweak the drinks that I liked getting there for the Starbucks recipes that I used to make every day at work and now I have some pretty awesome custom drinks that I like to throw the new kids at my local ‘bucks through.

Anywho – today marks the launch of Starbucks new spring/summer menu items and I decided to break away from my normal routine and try a few this morning.

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First up we have the new Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuchino. I normally get a chai frapp when I am at Starbucks if I am in the mood for something cold, but caramel sounded really good this morning. You may be asking yourself, what is the difference between this drink and their regular frappuchino? A regular caramel frappuchino uses only one type of caramel where the caramel ribbon crunch uses 4 different kinds blended into the drink. The caramel ribbon crunch version has a dark caramel drizzle on top with caramel crunchies on top (technical term here) I enjoy mine with soy and no whip because of the ole lactose intolerance factor, but let me assure you, this drink is wicked good. If you are not into super sweet drinks, this drink may not be for you as it is really rich from all the caramel, but maybe skip dessert one day and have one of these bad boys instead. Just don’t look at the calories, you’ll thank yourself for it.

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Next we have the new Lemon cake pop. I have enjoyed all of the cake pops that Starbucks has had in their pastry case so I figured that this would be no different and boy was I right. My favorite bakery item that I usually get is the lemon loaf, and lemon in general is my go to flavor when it comes to dessert choices if chocolate or peanut butter is not involved. The lemon cake pop is a perfect balance of sweet with a light tinge of tart lemon, making for a delicious two bite snack. The flavor reminds me of the lemon muffins that I used to get off the food truck near my Dad’s work as a kid. Except with way less preservative flavoring and more yummy.

So my vote is that these two items can stay forever – I know this won’t happen, but a girl can dream. Starbucks is also offering a new bunch of salads to their cold cases as well as adding valencia orange to their line up of refreshers in June. If you’re more of a tea person, they will also be adding the shaken peach green tea lemonade in June as well.

(please note that I was not compensated for this post by Starbucks in any way, and that my review is based purely on my own opinions)

April 30, 2013
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Graze Box – Number Four

Hey guys! Have any of you ever heard of Graze? It originally started in the UK and has been slowly branching out into the USA on an invite basis. The basic concept is that for $5 they will send you a mailbox sized box full of 4 different snacks every other week. There are over 80 different options to choose from and they are adding more.

Graze uses the following scale to rate how often they should send you something: trash, try, like, love. One of my New Years resolutions goals is to try new foods, so when I was picking out stuff I really made myself select try on more foods than I normally would.

Because of the amount of food, I will review the treats in a little bit different format than I normally do. Let’a go!

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This weeks mix is a half and half blend of sweet and savory.

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Fruit and Seed Flapjack : rustic rolled oat flapjack with mixed seeds and dried fruits
If you would have told me that there were apricots, dates, currents, sultanas, and raisins in this flapjack, I would have probably turned my nose up at it. I think in the last few Graze reviews I have made it pretty clear my feelings about raisins, but I had no idea when I was noshing on this delicious oat bar. Side note, because of my insane love of Hall & Oates, it is nearly impossible for me to type oat or oats correctly the first time. The flapjack is very moist and chewy, and the fruits included give it a great sweetness to it that is just right. The seeds that are included are sunflower and pumpkin which are both very tasty.
Overall this mix : love

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Brooklyn Bites : BBQ pumpkin seeds, poppy seed pretzels, and cheese cashews
This mix looks like a match made in heaven. Cheese cashews, poppy seed pretzels, and pumpkin seeds, yum! Unlike the other mix in my last Graze box, the pumpkin seeds in this are flavored, which takes this mix to a whole ‘nother level. The cheese cashews are slightly salty with a hint of cheese, but still keep the delicious cashew flavor. The pretzels were what I found the most underwhelming in this mix – they were pretty bland. All of the flavoring is concentrated on the pumpkin seeds which were slightly overpowering with the first bite I took. But out of the whole mix, I think I would say that they were my favorite.
Overall this mix : like

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Marvellous Macaroon : amaretti drops, almond slices, coconut flakes, and white chocolate buttons
Well it looks like the white chocolate didn’t hold up very well the few minutes my bag sat in the backseat of my car, baking away in the blazing hot sun. This made most of this mix turn into a katamari of ingredients, but I think it kind of worked out. The amaretti drops are so good, as are the white chocolate buttons. When this mix is eaten as it is intended, a little bit of everything at one time, it does in fact taste just like a macaroon, but because of my weird food habits, I eat everything separately. Sadly I was left with a bunch of almonds and coconut flakes and together those two things are the most bland thing on the planet.
Overall this mix : like

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My Thai : sweet chili sauce with baked soy bites
I love japanese cracker mixes – and I especially like the soy crackers, so when I opened my Graze box to find this mix in there, I was quite delighted. As usual I saved what I thought would be the best for last and I think I made the right choice. The chili sauce was spicy and sweet, but I am more of a dipper than a scooper when it comes to things like sauces, salsas, and the like, so I felt like they either gave me too much or didn’t give me enough crackers. The crackers alone were so good, and I could eat an entire bag if I had one and the chili sauce was very good. I could smother rice with the sauce or maybe some gyoza, man it was good. And sadly because I was so starved at work, I demolished the tray before even managing to take a picture. Crap.
Overall this mix : LOVE

*please note that this post is my own opinion (like all other posts) and was not paid or compensated with goods from Graze for this post.

April 25, 2013
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Arthur Paul’s Cake Pops – Birthday Cake

Posted in Bakery, Confectionaries

Hello world – What kind of blogs do you read? Strictly food? Lifestyle? I’m curious! I read a ton of lifestyle blogs, ranging from The Dainty Squid, Love Maegan, Delightfully Tacky, and Creature Type, but I also read a lot of food blogs. Of course I always read The Impulsive Buy and Junk Food Guy, but a couple of my favorite food blogs are Joy The Baker and Bakerella. No this is not a post just plugging people, but I thought I would share a few of my favorites, and there is a tie in with this post.

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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (on the internet) I discovered Bakerella. To say that I am envious of her decorating skills would be an understatement, but I can’t help but look at every single picture and post she puts up on her blog, and occasionally when she posts on Instagram. I have tried my hand at making her signature cake pops, and despite being delicious, they were a hot mess, a disasterpiece if you will. I couldn’t get them to stay on the stick, the first batch of chocolate I melted – burned, it was just all bad. At least they tasted good otherwise I think I would have had a mini-meltdown in my kitchen because of how much work it takes to make those dang things.

I was doing my regular snack food wander at Walmart – looking for new things to try and spotted these in the freezer aisle. They also had a red velvet cake version, but I am really picky about red velvet, so I figured that the birthday cake would be a safe bet. I am glad that these babies were on sale, because they retail for 5 bucks a box, and you only get 6. These things better be magical.

I was slightly saddened that these come in a tray instead of individually wrapped, because that means without the proper recovering, you will have freezer-burnt cake pops – yum. The pops themselves are about the size of a jumbo marshmallow, and have a thick coating of white chocolate and sprinkles on the outside. You have to let them thaw for at least 30 minutes prior to eating (at least that’s what they say to do) But what you decide to do is your own choice, as mine were pretty frozen when I decided to eat them because I am impatient like that.

I should have known that these would taste a little off. Have you ever had one of those clown cones from Baskin Robbins? There is something weird about how the frosting tastes after it has been frozen, and the outside coating of the cake pops tasted exactly like that. The best way I could describe the flavor would be cheap chocolate. The inside portion was rather tasty though, and I think had they just given me a tub of cake guts I would have been perfectly fine.

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Texture : 3/4 - The outside portion is a hard candy shell with soft cake insides. If you have never had a cake pop – don’t expect normal spongy cake that you are used to, it is more of a cake paste but it is delicious despite that less than flattering description. The sprinkles on the outside (or jimmies depending on where you are from) leave a slight greasy film on the inside of your mouth. That part I could do without.

Smell : 4/5 - In the packaging these have hardly any smell, but once you bite into the pop, you can smell the delicious smell of birthday cake. Butter and sugar mixed together to make that oh so familiar smell. YUM!

Appearance : 5/5 - I love all the multicolored sprinkles on the outside and they were generous with them, instead of throwing a few of them on there from a few feet away and seeing what stuck.

Taste : 3.5/5 - As I touched on before, the outside part tastes a little off and I could do without it all together. The inside portion is delicious and tastes just like a piece of birthday cake. For 6/$5 I would only buy these again if they were on sale because I’m pretty sure that I could just find a slice of birthday cake for cheaper, and it would taste better.

Do you have any blog suggestions for me guys? Anyone that I should read? Do YOU have a blog I should check out?

April 5, 2013
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Graze Box – Number 2

Hey guys! Have any of you ever heard of Graze? It originally started in the UK and has been slowly branching out into the USA on an invite basis. The basic concept is that for $5 they will send you a mailbox sized box full of 4 different snacks every other week. There are over 80 different options to choose from and they are adding more.

Graze uses the following scale to rate how often they should send you something: trash, try, like, love. One of my New Years resolutions goals is to try new foods, so when I was picking out stuff I really made myself select try on more foods than I normally would.

Because of the amount of food, I will review the treats in a little bit different format than I normally do. Let’a go!

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The outside packaging is no frills.

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This weeks offering was mostly savory.

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Summer Berry Flapjack : rustic rolled oat flapjack with berry infused cranberries

I had never had a flapjack prior to this Graze box or even had an idea of what a flapjack was aside from the normal pancake. Apparently it is similar to what most would consider a granola bar but it was more chewy than a regular granola bar. The oats were moist and flavorful, and the cranberries were sweet and tart. If Graze messed up and sent me an entire box of this flapjack, I would not be sad at all.
Overall this mix : love

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Cheddar Gorge : cheese cashews, baked herb bites, and salsa corn sticks.

I bring my box to work with me so that I will have a few choices when it comes to snacks during the day. Unfortunately this mix fell victim to the mid-day munchies and I completely forgot to take a picture of it (though you can see a picture here). The cheese cashews were nicely seasoned, the baked herb bites were flavorful and crunchy, and the salsa corn sticks tied the entire mix together with a nice kick of spice. I thought the corn sticks were a little to corn-y but they were good.
Overall this mix : love

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Mississippi BBQ pistachios : roasted pistachios with BBQ seasoning.

If I had to choose my favorite nut, it would be a toss up between cashews and pistachios. My only qualm with pistachios is that occasionally you will get one that tastes exceptionally gross. BBQ flavoring is not my first choice when it comes to food, and I dislike BBQ sauce all together which I’m sure is illegal in some portions of the United States, but these pistachios were the perfect amount of salty and smoky flavoring. I also learned a trick that seemed pretty ingenious for those pesky pistachios that are not open enough to crack open with your fingers – if you take a shell from a previous pistachio you can use the end to pry the other one open – so far I’ve had 100% success rate with this method.
Overall this mix : love

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Smoky Gazpacho Dip : smoky gazpacho relish with wholemeal crisp bread slices.

I will admit, I have never had gazpacho in my life, so I have no metric to measure this by. The gazpacho relish in my container was more of a gelatinous blob that was not very inviting at all. I am more of a dipper than a scooper when it comes to things like dips and salsas, so I dipped one of the bread slices into the gazpacho gingerly and took a bite – no thank you. When I read what gazpacho was made of, it sounds like it would be pretty good, but the smoke flavor was far too overpowering to be enjoyable for my liking.
Overall this mix : trash

*please note that this post is my own opinion (like all other posts) and was not paid or compensated with goods from Graze for this post.

March 28, 2013
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