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Confectionaries

Angie’s – Spooky Candy Corn Flavored Kettle Corn

Posted in Chips, Confectionaries

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… no it’s not Christmas, it’s Halloween time! Halloween is my most favorite holiday of the entire year. This is the time of the year that I find things in stores that I consider every day decor not to mention candy galore! I love candy corn, but rarely eat it outside of this time of the year. I am also somewhat of a candy corn purist, forget that harvest corn mix and chocolate corn and all of the other corns, give me the plain jane, ole stand by candy corn. Kettle corn on the other hand is not something that I can only enjoy in the fall. There is a local outdoor auction/farmers market that has a vendor that makes kettle corn that is absolutely divine. The thought of combining a sweet and salty treat with delicious candy corn sounds like a match made in heaven.

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I really like the design of the bag, but the popcorn pictured on the outside of the bag is slightly misleading. I cracked open the bag and was immediately greeted with the sweet smell of candy corn. I’m not going to lie, this stuff smells SO good. But like I mentioned before, it didn’t really look like the picture on the outside of the bag. I was expecting fluffy kernels of corn drizzled in flavor but was met with a bag of bits and pieces. Despite the bag of popcorn crumbles, I pressed on and took a bite. WOW – I knew nothing good was going to come of this. The popcorn was slightly sweet and slightly salty with a nice overtone of sweetness from the drizzle. I don’t know if I would describe the flavor of the drizzle as candy corn, but more like cake frosting, but either way, it was really good.

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I also noticed that my bag of popcorn seemed to be a little overcooked, borderline burnt. This would please my Mom greatly as she loves her popcorn charred, but I don’t think that it impacted the taste much. The flavoring on the popcorn is really melty and my bag was one giant popcorn ball when I opened it. I adopted this fancy fingertip bag holding technique that I used while enjoying this snack to keep the body heat from my hands from melting it even more.

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Texture : 3/5 – The popcorn in this bag was slightly  stale tasting. I think this was partially from the coating on the popcorn that made it moist. Also, HUSK city. So many popcorn kernel husks.

Smell : 5/5 – This smells so good. I would wear this as a perfume if I could.

Appearance : 2/5 – This is solely based on the appearance on the outside of the package vs the appearance of the actual popcorn itself. My bag lacked the fluffy kernels that were pictured on the outside.

Taste : 4/5 – This treat is delicious. If it was available year round at Target, I would most likely buy it semi-regularly. The combination of sweet and salty popcorn and the sweet drizzle makes for a great snack when you can’t figure out which to choose. My only complains are that my popcorn was a little overcooked and the drizzle was REALLY melty. Licking your hand isn’t exactly the most cute thing to do in the world while eating a bag of popcorn, but its just that good.

October 7, 2013
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Limited Edition Jif Whips – Whipped Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mint

Posted in Confectionaries

What’s up my friends? It is starting to finally feel a little like fall in the lovely state of California, and I must admit, I’m really into it. Fall happens to be my favorite time of the year. Not only because of the mild weather but that means pumpkin everything and mint everything. Usually  mint flavored stuff tends to make its appearance a little later into the season, but Target wasted no time in throwing this up on their shelves right in the middle of September.

So we shall start this review off with a little infographic I made to convey my feelings of what I think this might taste like. I must admit, the idea of peanut butter and chocolate mint doesn’t sound all that tasty, but then again I’ve tasted weirder things in my life.

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Please tell me that I am not alone in the NOPE column of peanut butter and mint together? I am sure that I don’t need to go on about how chocolate and peanut butter are life partners and anyone that doesn’t agree I find a little weird. They are like two peas in a pod. Better together. Period.

Then there is mint. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE mint flavored things. I have fond memories of this beautiful pink and purple glass candy dish that my Mom would put out during Christmas that she would fill with chocolate mint M & M’s and I would always try to be sneaky and steal a few, but I’ll be damned if that candy dish wasn’t the loudest thing in the world. Trying to lift the lid off that thing without it clanging around was nearly impossible and now that I think about it, I think it was a trap. Thanks Mom for outsmarting me yet again while I was a child thinking that I was oh so cleaver and sneaky.

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Then comes the dilemma, what the heck do you put this on? A bagel? dip cookies in it? uhh… thats about it? I don’t see myself making a whipped peanut butter & chocolate mint jelly sandwich anytime soon, which is why I have a slight problem with the tub size of this thing. If it were the other two Jif Whips I have tried, it makes a little more sense, but there is some serious commitment involved in purchasing a tub this large for something that could taste like eating a peanut butter sandwich after brushing your teeth. Let’s also not glaze over the fact that the untouched top layer of the tub looks like a turd in a tub. Hope you enjoy that mental image, from me, to you :)

SO. Moment of truth. I have no cookies or bagels to dip into this Jif concoction, so I went for the ole knife out a large dollop and put it straight in the mouth method. If my partner in snack food crime saw me do that, he would surely be cringing as he hates peanut butter in any other form but a cookie. I on the other hand will eat peanut butter straight from the jar with a spoon. My initial reaction? Hm.. not bad.

I was honestly expecting a collision of peanut butter and York peppermint patty in my mouth, but the mint flavoring was so faint I almost didn’t notice it. Thinking maybe I didn’t sample enough, I went back for another skim, and my feeling stayed the same. Also please note that while sitting here I became curious to see what Jif suggests as a serving size. Do yourself a favor and don’t even look at that or the calories. Just eat it from the jar in pure ignorance with your thumb strategically covering that crap because right now I think I just ate a nice sized portion of my daily suggested daily calorie allowance. YOLO or something right?

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Texture : 3/5 - I am not overly sure what the whipped craze is when it comes to certain foods. Can you really tell the difference between whipped peanut butter and regular peanut butter slathered on a piece of toast? I can’t. The peanut butter is slightly airy and has a nice creamy texture, but for the most part… why do I need whipped peanut butter again?

Smell : 4/5 – The mint smell majorly overpowers the peanut smell. I think this had me worried the most before trying it because it smelled REALLY minty.

Appearance : 1.5/5 – I’m giving this low marks solely based on the original appearance you are greeted with when peeling off the plastic on the tub. You would think they could have a machine smooth that out just a little before wrapping it up so that it doesn’t look like… the way it does. After you use the peanut butter once, it looks like any other chocolate peanut butter in a tub.

Taste : 2.5/5 – I am kind of torn between disliking and liking this stuff. On one hand, the chocolate and peanut butter flavors are so dominate that you almost can’t tell that the mint is there, which makes it rather in enjoyable. On the other hand, I can still taste the mint, and I’m still not sure what it is doing in my chocolate peanut butter. On the lid of the tub there is a recipe suggestion to make chocolate mint thumbprint cookies with this stuff, but in reality, I would probably just make regular  chocolate mint thumbprint cookies, why complicate things with peanut butter? If faced with buying this again, I would probably pass unless the tub size was smaller, as I think I have more than I will ever eat sitting in the tub on my desk.

Check out what The Impulsive Buy had to say!

October 2, 2013
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Dippin’ Dots – Birthday Cake Flavored Magic Milk Straws

Posted in Confectionaries, Drinks

Hello food friends! I am so glad its Saturday. This week was pretty whirlwind and I definitely need some time to regroup. A little anecdote from work yesterday – I work in shipping and receiving at my job and I am the only person that works back there, so when things get a little crazy, my brain often tries to do a million things at once. I’m sure most of you can relate to that it doesn’t always work as planned when trying to accomplish many things at once. I was unloading a shipment and was checking the packing slip against our purchase order in the computer and there were a bunch of items that they sent us that were not on our purchase order. Sometimes this happens, and I just adjust our purchase order to reflect the incorrect shipment so that our inventory is correct, but this was a lot of stuff.

I approached my boss and asked if she wanted to keep the items and she said no and to contact the vendor to see what was up with all of this stuff. Luckily our customer service rep for this particular brand is rather personable and friendly and she agreed to look into it for me after I emailed her all of my paperwork. When I returned to my desk, after emailing her from the front office (without the dang attachment, which I had to send again, feeling like an idiot) I returned to my desk in the backroom and noticed that my printer was out of paper… GREAT. So why could I not find all these items on our purchase order? Because my printer didn’t print the entire thing. I had to email her yet again and admit my dummy mistake, at lest it made for a good laugh. Moral of the story? Check your printer.

That pretty much set the pace for my entire day – and honestly I was glad to jet out of there at 5:30. I really enjoy my job, but some days are just insane. So today I have killed myself at the gym (another life lesson, don’t leave your inhaler at home because you don’t feel like carrying it) am getting an oil change and am at Starbucks drinking the most expensive chocolate soy milk I have ever had because it sounded good.

I saw these at Walmart the other night while doing a little grocery shopping for the week. Some of you may recall that I have reviewed a couple of other versions (here) but who knew Dippin’ Dots were still around, let alone in the milk game. I guess the progression is natural, considering ice cream is made of milk, but we shall see.

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Much like the Got Milk? version of these straws, they are somehow magical. I am unsure what about them makes them magical, its not like you can’t see what is inside of the straw. Now if these looked like ordinary straws and they somehow managed to taste like birthday cake when drinking milk? THAT would be magical. When I think birthday cake, my first thought goes to a generic sheet cake with the overly sugary icing that is oh so good, but oh so bad at the same time. Much like when I reviewed the Got Milk? version, I decided to eat these more like a pixie stick than use them in milk (mostly because I don’t drink milk and I don’t often have soy or almond milk in the house because I don’t use it fast enough) Maybe that is where all of this goes wrong.

I snipped off the end of the straw and poured a bit into my mouth. My initial reaction is that these taste more like sprinkles that you would find on birthday cake more so than the cake itself. Now don’t get me wrong, I love sprinkles. I even used sprinkles in my cereal in a moment of desperation after not being able to locate the sugar at my Mom’s house. (photographic evidence here) But I was expecting the buttery taste of the cake and the sugary taste of the frosting mixed in one. In the name of science, or gluttony, I devoured one more, thinking maybe I would finally make sense of what they were trying to do here, but it was still just a bunch of sugar to me. Richard dared me to pour an entire one in my mouth, and not wanting to opt out of a dare, I poured the entire contents of a third straw into my mouth. I could kind of see where Dippin’ Dots were going with this, but it missed the rich cake flavor that I was expecting. (P.S. Richard also accused me of trying to show off my cute nails in the second picture, this may or may not be true)

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Texture: 4/5 – Now because these are meant to be consumed with milk, I imagine that there would be little texture change in your bovine beverage, but because of the volume in the straw, I also imagine that you would have to consume quite a bit of milk to use up the entire contents of the straw. Now eating them, they are rather crunchy, somewhat similar in texture to a nerds candy or a sugar sprinkle.

Smell: 3/5 – These had a faint smell of what could be considered cake, but the aroma was pretty faint.

Appearance: 5/5 – I am a sucker for pastel colors despite my love for black clothing. The pink, blue, yellow and white dots in the straw remind me of birthday cake.

Taste: 3.5/5 – I feel that these straws miss the mark a little with the flavor profile of birthday cake. It has the frosting element down, but it really needs some help in the cake flavor department. I think I would buy these again as a treat to pour on ice cream or something sweet but not filling to eat in a long line at Disneyland (I’m jonesing hard for a little Disneyland right now)

May 18, 2013
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Herr’s Pretzel Eggs

Posted in Chips, Confectionaries

Hello snack foodies – One thing that is hard about being addicted to trying junk food is that you sometimes get so overwhelmed with new stuff that things tend to fall through the cracks and get pushed back further in your stash. At least, that is the problem I have. I will intend to review something one day but then find out that XYZ has come out with something and I end up reviewing that instead. Such is the case for today’s review.

I always check out the seasonal section at Target whenever there are holidays because occasionally you will find some sort of limited edition gem hiding in all the chaos. In today’s case, I doubt it is limited edition at all, but we rarely get Herr’s items on the west coast, so any time I am able to get my hands on them, I will give them a try. I spotted these Herr’s Pretzel Eggs in the crazy section where there are all kinds of treats to fill your child (or adults) Easter basket. I paid a buck for them as the package is about the size of my palm, and I was pretty excited to try them. Until they got lost in the bucket designated for small snacks that do not come in a box (candy bars, the last package of fruit snacks in the box, etc). There they sat, sad and alone while I sampled other treats that dazzled me with larger portion size and fancy flavors. It wasn’t until one night where we were watching TV that I remembered that I had these little guys tucked away for a not so rainy day.

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The portion size was perfect enough for an evening snack that fit in a little dish. They are about the size of a peanut M & M and are coated with an Easter palette of blue, orangey-pink, and yellow. The outside coating was dense enough that it held its shape, but not to the point where the outside coating would be considered hard. My biggest disappointment with whatever coated pretzels is that they will A) use a cheap pretzel B) use a cheap outside coating and/or C) cut the salt. The appeal to me of eating a coated pretzel is the sweet and salty factor – so I am always sad when a company decides to ditch the salt. This is not the case with Herr’s. The outside coating was smooth and vanilla flavored, while the pretzel inside was crunchy with just the right amount of salt on the outside. Upon first bite, I was hooked, and kind of disappointed that I waited so long to try these as they are no longer available. If this is a Herr’s staple item that us west coasters are not privy to, then color me jealous. These things are great for snacking while watching TV or maybe sneaking into a movie, not that I would ever do that, but expect to find yourself empty handed rather quickly because of how tasty these little guys are .

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Texture : 4/5 - The outside is smooth and delicious, similar texture of the outside coating of a yogurt covered raisin. The pretzel inside is crunchy and fresh tasting. Sometimes I find that when pretzels are encapsulated the moisture from the coating tends to make them a little stale tasting.
Smell : 3/5 - There is nothing really distinct about the smell of these, if I could pick out one smell it would be a faint vanilla.
Appearance : 3/5 - Visually these guys are nothing special. I think I would have opted for something more exciting in terms of the outside appearance, but it gets the job done.
Taste : 4.5/5 - Overall these are a delicious treat. I really enjoyed the sweet and salty combo between the vanilla outside coating and the crunchy middle pretzel. My only qualm is that the outside coating is pretty thick, and kind of takes away from the pretzel for me, but even with that said, I would definitely buy these again. Dear Target, please tell the Easter Bunny to bring these to your store stock again next year.
May 8, 2013
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Cracker Jack Popcorn – Butter Toffee

Posted in Chips, Confectionaries

The other night at Walmart, wandering up and down the aisles looking for new things to add to the junk food stash, I figured that it would be some what of a bust, same ole same ole everywhere I looked. I honestly feel like everyone releases their new foods all at the same time, and then its completely stagnant. Defeated, but still managing to have almost an entire shopping carts worth of food, we made our way up to the check lanes to head home. It wasn’t until I was loading all of my wares onto the belt that I spotted this Cracker Jack Popcorn out of the corner of my eye hanging off an endcap. I’ve seen the Cracker Jack’d stuff floating around at various stores, and I have debated trying it, but there was just something about this that was calling me.

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It was only a buck or so, so I figured if it was a complete bust that I wouldn’t be out very much. I honestly think what really drew me in was the boasting on the outside of the bag of a retro prize inside. Now I don’t know if you have had cracker jacks in the last few years but the prizes are totally made of suck these days. Who wants a history lesson from some weird little paper that you can fold to make a presidents face? I want a whistle, or a car, or something awesome inside of the bag, not a snippit from a text book. Heck, I’d even pay MORE money if I knew that the treasure I was getting inside was cooler than what I’ve received in the last few years. My guess is that they moved away from the toys and trinkets is because people probably whined and said that it was too easy for a kid to accidentally swallow the prize and choke. Well you know what? Watch your kids. The end. Alright, became a bitter bear there for a second, back to the food.

I don’t eat Cracker Jacks very often, mostly because popcorn and I don’t really share the same feelings towards each other and the thought of getting popcorn husks stuck in my teeth is really enough to put me off from eating the snack all together. It never fails that despite brushing and flossing that one lone husk will turn up months down the line and make you question your hygiene habits.

My favorite part about Cracker Jacks is the thick coating on the outside. That stuff is so sugary that it will usually make my teeth hurt, but man o man do I love it. I also enjoy the peanuts mixed into the sweet caramel coating which were absent in this mix. The bag of popcorn had considerably less sugary coating than its originator but it made for a great afternoon snack. The butteriness of the toffee balanced out the sweetness which made this easier to eat the entire bag without feeling like you just ingested a weeks worth of sugar in one sitting. The popcorn was light and airy and the toffee coating was a nice thin shellac on the outside. Unlike regular Cracker Jacks, there are no large clusters to worry about,so this is a perfect food to eat by the handful.

Now lets get down to the prize in this bad boy. The whole reason why I bought this dang bag – a throwback prize. Well, lets just throw this prize back into the trashcan. A STICKER. Guys, really? Items that were put into a Cracker Jack box were often considered limited and once they were gone they were gone, but a sticker? Really? The look of disappointment on my face was obvious and I’m back to being a bitter bear.

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Texture : 5/5 - Because of the thin coating of butter toffee, the popcorn still maintains its light and airy texture coupled with the crunch from the outside sweet shell.

Smell : 5/5 - The smell of this popcorn is crazy good. Sweetness mixed with butter, mmm mmm. I imagine its like one of those Glade seasonal candles that smell good for the brief second you’re holding it, but there is no way that your house could smell like that all the time. I kind of imagine it is like what Paula Deans house smells like.

Appearance : 4/5 - Because my brain has been trained that Cracker Jacks = dark caramel coating, I was surprised to see that the popcorn was not completely coated by the confectionery coating.

Taste : 3.5/5 - If you are looking to branch out from the norm, the butter toffee version might be for you. The popcorn is crunchy and fresh tasting, with just a light coating of sugary butter toffee on the outside, unlike the completely encased caramel version. The lack of peanuts kind of bums me out as it breaks up the flavor profile a little for me, but I can get over that I guess. The amount of sweetness is just enough that you can eat the entire bag in one sitting without feeling like you’re going to go into a diabetic coma. And I am still bitter about the prize.

May 7, 2013
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Goldfish Baked Graham Snacks – French Toast

Something new from the snack that smiles back, Goldfish crackers! French toast is one of my favorite morning treats, although I can’t recall the last time I had french toast. I never make it for myself, mostly because I never have eggs on hand and because of laziness, so it is usually something I will get when in the mood for breakfast at a diner. Goldfish o the other hand are something that I could probably eat on a daily basis if it weren’t for that whole cheese thing. A while back at a dinner gathering some friends and I were talking about Goldfish and one of my friends seemed truly confused as to why the massive box of Goldfish had a pour spout built in for any other reason but to pour them directly into your mouth. I can’t argue with him there.

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Now I don’t know if it is was just lack of basic reading comprehension or if I was overjoyed to see these sitting on the shelf at Bel Air, but I didn’t even notice that they were graham when I picked them up. Needless to say I was a bit taken aback when I poured some on my desk at work one morning as a snack and was not expecting them to be graham at all. What I was expecting them to be? Who knows. I nibbled on a few and was pleasantly surprised with how close these tasted to actual french toast. The graham was sweet and maple-y and they were dusted with cinnamon and sugar. Good thing I work in the backroom at my job or people might have started questioning why I was covered in sand, but I think by now most people have come to accept that I always look like a hot mess when unpacking boxes and a little cinnamon and sugar never hurt anyone.

The grahams seem slightly bigger than a normal Goldfish cracker, but I think this is attributed to the fact that they are similar shaped, not exact. I don’t think their tails would hold up as a graham cracker. Despite their appearance change, they are still smiling at you as you shovel them into your mouth.

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Texture : 5/5 - These have a great crunch to them, unlike the crunch you would find with a regular Goldfish cracker. But much like a graham cracker if you eat too much at once it will turn into a gooey mess in your mouth (this review is getting a little pornographic, jeez.) and they are slightly dry. The cinnamon and sugar will definitely find a new home between your teeth so be sure do to a little mirror check before heading into your next sales meeting.

Smell : 5/5 - When you open the bag you will be greeted by the familiar smell of french toast – yummy!

Appearance : 3/5 - I think the appearance of these little guys was kind of phoned in. I would have opted for a swirled fish ala Cinnamon Toast Crunch with the cinnamon and sugar coating on the outside, but that is why Pepperidge Farm has a product development department and I just write about it. Also I find that these could potentially make you look like you are enjoying some cat treats, which could be a nice ice breaker.

Taste : 4/5 - These were quite good. I think they would be even better sprinkled on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I would not however go as far as to say that they will send you into a feeding frenzy like their older brother the regular Cheddar Goldfish cracker. I swear its not salt on the outside of those things, its crack. Of the few sweet offerings that Pepperidge Farm has put out in the ways of Goldfish (chocolate, cupcake, smores, etc) I think these would have to be my favorite of the lot. The maple really brings this to whole new level, taking it from a cinnamon and sugar graham cracker to the true french toast taste. I would probably buy these again if I were looking for some fishy finger foods.

May 5, 2013
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Chex Mix Muddy Buddies – Brownie Surpreme

Posted in Confectionaries

Good morning all!

Today I am bringing to you something tasty from ye ole Chex Mix. I am not a huge muddy buddy fan, despite my love for peanut butter and chocolate. Actually I am not a fan of the Chex Mix made version, homemade? Yes please! Anyways, when I saw the brownie supreme something told me that I needed to try it – most likely the fact that I havnt seen it perched on the shelves of my local Walmart before. I grabbed a few other things like another box of Peanut Butter Toast Crunch and a delicious drink that I will be sharing with you all tomorrow and went for the check out lanes.

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Nothing about this bag seemed out of the ordinary until I opened it. Prepare yourself for what you are about to see.

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WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THAT. Now, being a snack lover my entire life, I am familiar with the occasional ball of seasoning wrapped around a burnt chip nugget in a bag of chips, but this, this is… WOW. This wasn’t even buried at the bottom of the bag for me to discover like some sort of Cracker Jack prize, it was happily perched right in the top of the bag, staring up at me when I opened it. Hello, quality control. Normally a friend would dare you or even double dog dare you to eat the flavor nugget, but there was no way in hell that I would even consider taking a bite out of this turd. (let’s face it, that is exactly what this looks like) I waffled for a few about whether or not the rest of the bag was worthy of eating, and decided that it was and dug in.

Normally my routine for my reviews is that I examine the outside of the bag, take a picture, open the bag up, examine the contents and then take another picture. Well I kind of sucked at the last part there, but I partially blame the alien egg inside of my bag of Chex Mix and I also blame the video game Terreria. My brain goes into autopilot when it comes to normal things such as snacking, checking my phone, etc. when it comes to playing an addicting game like Terreria. Before I knew it, I was reaching into an empty bag of Chex Mix Brownie Supreme. OOPS.

Much like the peppermint bark Chex Mix, the brownie supreme version will coat you in brown dust and make you look like you have tons of dirt caked under your nails. Always a nice sight. This snack is best poured into the hand vs, digging in like you would with a bag of chips, but I was too buried, literally and figuratively in my game to even bother with that, plus you can’t hold an Xbox 360 controller in one hand and still play. I think my biggest qualm with the normal Muddy Buddy mix from Chex Mix is that it tastes really artificial to me. I don’t know if it is the extreme coating of what I can only guess is a box of brownie mix on the outside or if they changed something in the ingredients, but the brownie supreme version is rather tasty. Again, much like my complaint with the peppermint bark version, I really wish that they would use a rice Chex vs a corn Chex. There is just something about the flavors that makes it just slightly weird.

Texture: 5/5 - The crunchy corn Chex in the middle makes for a nice snacking experience. The powdery outside makes for a real mess, but the chocolate is smooth and tasty.

Smell: 4/5 - When opening the bag the one and only thing that you will smell is sugar and chocolate.

Appearance: 3/5 - There is nothing special about the appearance of these guys. They are little square blobs in the bag.

Taste: 4/5 - I don’t really know what makes something supreme vs regular, but these guys are good. If you are looking for a bakery brownie taste, these are not for you, and I think you could probably achieve the flavor at home if you poured some melted chocolate on corn Chex and then dumped some brownie mix on top of them. I liked them, but I probably wouldn’t buy them again, and instead just buy a brownie.

May 4, 2013
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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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