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November 2012

Planters Snack Mix – Bold, Original, and Sweet & Salty

Hello hello! The weather here in Northern California has been rainy and windy and has done nothing more than make me want to stay in bed all day. When I woke up this morning and saw a text from my boss telling me not to come in today, I did what any girl would do in my situation. I curled back up in bed and cat napped my day away watching Private Practice on Netflix.

I’ve had this Planters Snack Mix in my stash for quite some time, but it kept getting bumped by various holiday treats. Please enjoy this 3 part rainy day review.

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I started with the Bold flavor. The mix consists of wheat squares, almonds, peanuts, sesame sticks, small bread cracker crouton things (scientific term), pretzels, and Corn Nuts? Sadly because Planters is late to the snack mix game, I couldn’t help but subconsciously compare these to Chex Mix. The flavor was mostly smoky, slightly spicy, and salty. I could not put my finger on exactly what flavors make up this mix but it wasn’t too bad. I however remember how much I do not like Corn Nuts. I have been spoiled by Blue Diamond and Emerald by their giant almonds as the ones in this mix were barely bigger than their peanut counterpart.

Next up was the Original flavor. What is Original flavor anyways? Upon first bite, it didn’t taste like the mix had any seasoning at all. After giving the bag a little shake, I noticed that it had a little salt to it but not much more. This mix also ditched the Corn Nuts. I wish that there was a more equal mix of ingredients, as this mix was mostly comprised of those little mini toast deals (also a scientific term). It was okay, if you only wanted a handful, past that its rather bland.

Lastly, the Sweet & Salty mix. This was made up of the same components as the Original mix. In fact, I think they just took the Original mix and dumped a huge helping of sugar and a little bit of cinnamon on it. Sadly the salty part of this duo has gone into hiding. I also did not like the sesame sticks in this mix coated with the sugar mixture. Not tasty at all.

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Texture:

  • Bold: 3/5 – Because all of the elements in this mix are crunchy, it makes for a nice snacking experience. The flavoring does not add anything to the texture.
  • Original: 3/5 – (see above)
  • Sweet & Salty: 3/5 – (see above)

Smell: -

  • Bold: 3/5 - You can definitely smell the slight spiciness when you open the bag.
  • Original: 1/5 – The bag was practically devoid of any sort of smell, it was weird.
  • Sweet & Salty: 3/5 – There was a hint of sweetness to the bag when opened.

Appearance: -

  • Bold: 3/5 – The Bold offering was covered in little black specks of flavoring, which would almost lead you to believe that it is peppery, which it is not.
  • Original: 2/5 – Nothing special about the Original flavor, all of the elements looked like they were in their raw form.
  • Sweet & Salty: 3/5 – On the Sweet & Salty mix, you could see the white specks covering the majority of the mix, which one can only assume was some sort of sugar type material. I hope.

Taste:-

  • Bold: 2/5 – I did not overly enjoy the flavor chosen for the Bold mixture. The only way I could describe it would be that it kind of tastes like how BO smells. Yep, that good.
  • Original: 2.5/5 – The Original mix mostly tasted like you took all of the ingredients and poured them together, sprinkled a little salt and called it a day. It is not bad, but it is not spectacular. If you are looking for something with flavor, go for a bag of regular Chex Mix instead.
  • Sweet & Salty: 2.5/5 – Despite my love for overly sweet things, this mix does it in all the wrong ways. I especially did not care for the sesame sticks (in any of the mixes but in this one mostly) as they just tasted like greasy sweet… things. This mix may be somewhat redeemable if you combined it with the Original flavor.

If I had to rate these in order of enjoyment, 1. Original 2. Sweet & Salty 3. Bold

November 30, 2012
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Snikiddy Chips – Jalapeño Ranch

Posted in Chips

Good evening folks! Two orders of business before we get to today’s review. First, it is JunkFoodGuy‘s birthday today! So if you haven’t already, leave him some birthday love on his blog! Second, because a) The Impulsive Buy is amazing and b) all of the people who read my blog daily are amazing, yesterday was my highest traffic day since I started this site – you guys seriously kick ass.

Tonight while waiting for my gyoza to be ready, I wandered over to BelAir to pick up a Vitamin Water and check out the snack food aisles to see if there were any new eats to try. I honestly feel like because so many stores started stocking their shelves with Christmas product so early, that for the month of December we will be hard pressed to find anything new in seasonal treats. I hope this does not prove to be true and that we get a small wave of new snacks before the end of the year. My partner in crime was debating on whether to pick up the Smikiddy chips or a bag of Late July organic chips. He decided to go with the latter so I opted for the Snikiddy chips.

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Let’s just set the record straight right now. I’m no health nut. I buy healthier snacks solely based on taste vs. potential health bonuses. (Ugh health bonus? I play too much Dungeons & Dragons – sorry my inner nerd is showing) I enjoy the Eat Smart Veggie Crisps and Straws. One reason I enjoy them is because they do a nice job of presenting a snack food that is healthy, but has a delicious flavor to boot.

When I picked up the Snikiddy chips, I noticed that they were made from sweet potatoes, carrots and navy beans. Interesting combination for a chip base. The only flavor of the trio that I could pin pinpoint was the carrot. These had a nice crunch to them. I was disappointed to find that instead of baking the flavor into the chip, that they chose to sprinkle flavoring on the outside. Sadly the powder distribution is very uneven, which made for a mediocre snacking experience. I wasn’t particularly impressed with these chips. The powderless ones had virtually no flavor at all, and the ones that did have flavor powder on them tasted like a hint of jalapeño and no signs of ranch to be found.

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Texture: 3/5 – These were quite crunchy, but unfortunately had kind of a mealy texture to them.

Smell: 2/5 – Because jalapeño is such a distinct smell as is ranch, I was expecting to smell at least one if not both when I opened the bag – but there was hardly an smell to these chips at all.

Appearance: 3/5 – The chips have a weird shape to them and I don’t know if it’s from the ingredients used or what but they look like a really greasy flour tortilla chip. (They are not greasy) Also you can pick out which chips have flavoring because of the powder on the outside.

Taste: 1.5/5 – The only redeeming quality that I found in these chips is that they would be good with salsa, hummus, or any sort of other dip. Unless you manage to find one with flavor dust the chips are rather bland. If you do manage to encounter the elusive flavor filled chip, it dissipates faster than the flavor in Double Bubble chewing gum. I would not buy these again.

November 29, 2012
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Newton Fruit Thins – Lemon Crisp

Posted in Cookies

I have been wanting to try the various flavors of these Newton Fruit Thins, but none of the flavors really stood out to me. Today while at Target, I saw these hiding on the top shelf and decided to give them a whirl.

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I assumed, which is never a good idea, that these would be a soft cookie, much the the outside of a regular Newton. When I opened the package I was surprised to see how small the cookies were and that they were more like wafers than anything. I was also expecting there to be some sort of lemon curd/purée mixed in with the cookie, but for the most part the lemon flavoring was pretty subdued. Preconceived notions aside, these taste pretty decent. The buttery flavor of the cookie mixed with the lemon makes for a rather light flavor.

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Texture: 4/5 – The texture of these cookies reminded me of a mixture of the sociable crackers and Wheat Thins.

Smell: 3/5 – These smelled like a mixture of butter and a slight hint of lemon.

Appearance: 2.5/5 – I was expecting these cookies to be bigger than they were. They were barely the size of the palm of my hand. They are also a weird shade of light brown.

Taste: 3.5/5 – These cookies tasted like a weaker Lemon Oreo. The flavor was a mixture of the super old McDonalds cookies and lemon. These are good but I was expecting a soft and chewy cookie coupled with some lemon jam mixed in. I was also hoping for some tartness from the lemon but that was completely non-existent. These are an OK buy, but they need a little extra something to make these really pop. When I figure out exactly what that something is, I will report back.

November 28, 2012
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Blue Diamond Almonds – Rosemary & Black Pepper

Posted in Nuts

Good evening! Somehow I lost some time in the last two days and thought it was later in the week than it was. Color me disappointed when I finally consulted my phone and saw that it was only Tuesday. Have you all put your Christmas decorations up yet? I helped hang some lights yesterday and nearly blew myself across the street, but that’s a story for another day.

I don’t know if you noticed but I’m a snacker. I honestly prefer to eat little bits here and there all day instead of heavy meals that do nothing but put me into a food induced coma. Despite some of the crap I eat and share with you on here, I do attempt to try and pick healthier foods to snack on. One recent addiction has been almonds.

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I haven’t always loved almonds. I would say its only been in the last 6 months that I have really given them a chance. I don’t really find plain almonds all that appealing so I am glad that they are releasing lots of different flavors to keep things interesting.

When I saw these at Target I got instant flashbacks to one of my favorite chips EVER, Archer Farms Baked Rosemary & Garlic chips. Rosemary is not something that I would normally consider to be a delicious chip topping, but good grief, I think I was keeping that flavor or chips on the shelves with how many bags I was buying. Rosemary and black pepper? I’m in.

When I cracked this tin of almonds open, the first thing I smelled was black pepper with a slight hint of rosemary. I thought for sure that since rosemary is such a potent spice that it would overpower things but that wasn’t the case at all. The almonds had a hefty even coating on the outside, ensuring that each almond is flavorful. When you first bite into the almond you encounter the taste of rosemary but it is quickly steamrolled by black pepper. These could have just been called Black Pepper Almonds. Because of the coating on the outside it manages to find its way into every nook & cranny of your mouth, leaving you with a really strong pepper taste. These taste good, but I wish there was more of a balance in the flavor.

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Texture: 3/5 – The outside coating make these a tad gritty but they have a nice crunch, which is expected from an almond.

Smell: 4/5 – The rosemary is slightly noticeable when smelling these but you mostly smell the pepper.

Appearance: 3.5/5 – There is no shorts me of visible flavoring on these almonds.

Taste: 3.5/5- My overall verdict on these is that they are good. If you do not like strong pepper flavoring you should pass on these because that is the main flavoring that you will taste in these. The only thing that I find disappointing is that the flavoring is so overpowering that I could only eat a half-dozen or so before I was just overwhelmed with the strong flavor. If Blue Diamond could tone down the pepper a bit and turn up the rosemary, I feel like they would have a home run on their hands.

November 27, 2012
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Better Chip – Red Pepper & Salsa Fesca

Posted in Chips

Round Two, ding! I picked these Better Chips at SaveMart a while back and they have been hanging out in my stash for a while.

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One major thing that I really enjoy about this brand of chips are their use of real ingredients. If you flip over a bag and check out the listing for the ingredients, you will notice that everything on there is readable and pronounceable. I feel like this is the main reason why their chips taste so good. I previously tried their jalapeño chips and just as those were a home run, these follow right in their footsteps. There is an abundance of flavor in these chips (not just sprinkled on the outside) most notably the red pepper. These also have a smoky chili flavor to them as well that makes them absolutely tasty.

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Texture: 5/5 – Despite the baked in chunks of red peppers, these tortilla chips are exceptionally crunchy.

Smell: 4/5 – The spiciness of these chips are very apparent in the smell.

Appearance: 3/5 – The red peppers and salsa ingredients make this chip completely red. They are not coated with flavoring which is nice.

Taste: 4.5/5 – These tortilla chips are really good. They meld the flavors of a hearty spicy salsa and tortilla chip into one. The smoky flavor from the chili adds a nice aftertaste. Honestly I would opt for these over chips and salsa any day. Mmm mmmm….

November 26, 2012
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Kraft Jet Puffed Marshmallows – Pumpkin Spice

Posted in Confectionaries

Hello friends! First I must apologize for my unannounced absence yesterday. I drove home super early from my moms house and went immediately to a photoshoot. By the time I got home, uploaded the pictures to my computer, started resizing and post processing I was beat. I laid down for what felt like just a minute but I was out cold. SO! To make up for leaving you guys hangin’ I have two reviews for you tonight!

I bet you thought since Halloween and Thanksgiving were over, that would be the last of pumpkin spice _________. WRONG. I spotted these Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows at Walmart and decided to give them a go.

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Kraft has really tried to up the ante on their marshmallow game with the introduction of flavors like German chocolate cake, coconut, mint chocolate, etc. I can’t say that all of these incarnations have been successful, but I commend Kraft for trying something different. I am a lover of most things pumpkin spice, so I was excited to try these out. When I opened the bag I was greeted with the overly sweet marshmallow smell mixed with a slight tinge of nutmeg and cinnamon. To get festive, they made them into tiny pumpkin shapes, which kind of looked a little wonky. I popped a few in my mouth and was slightly underwhelmed by the lack of bold pumpkin spice flavoring. The taste of the mallow really watered down the festive spices.

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Texture: 3/5 – These had the expected sponginess of a normal marshmallow.

Smell: 3/5 – These smell mildly festive, but for the most part it’s just the powdered sugar punching though.

Appearance: 3/5 – I appreciate what Kraft was trying to do with the pumpkin shape, but I feel like the normal cylinder shape would have sufficed, these pumpkins are a little sad looking.

Taste: 3/5 – Of the pumpkin spice flavored things I have tried, these would rank in the B category. They are good, but they are not overly exciting. The pumpkin spices are not nearly as prevalent as one would expect. I am also curious what their purpose is outside of being a snack. Could you toast these? That might be weird.

November 26, 2012
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Newtons – Triple Berry

Posted in Cookies

Hello Hello! Sorry today’s review is a bit late – time got away from me while I was watching a marathon of Wipeout on TruTV. There is just something so hilarious about people falling down that sucks you in and steals away hours of your day. I have been at my Mom’s since Thursday and I have eaten more food than I have eaten in probably the last 6 months. SO GOOD. Something about someone else cooking for you makes it taste so much better, even when it is just simple things like toast, or mashed potatoes, or a glass of water.

Because of how much I have been eating, I really wanted to opt for something more “healthy”. I just needed a break from greasy and salty chips, sugary sweet cookies, etc. I picked up these Newtons Triple Berry at Walmart on Black Friday (because that’s what everyone was standing in line for – actually they were standing in front of it for a TV in the dairy department.)

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Did you know that Nabisco dropped the ‘Fig’ in Fig Newtons to attempt to move away from the stigma of sounding overly healthy? It’s true and apparently it sparked a slight outrage. I think I will always call Fig Newtons, Fig Newtons, despite a flavor change, like the Triple Berry ones, much like facial tissue is called Kleenex and adhesive bandages are called Band-Aids. I actually really like Fig Newtons, despite never tasting a fig in any other way.

When I opened the tray of cookies, it smelled exactly like a tray of regular Fig Newtons. I am convinced that the cookie outside dictates the smell more that the internal flavor. I was curious if there were actually 3 berries featured in this cookie or if they were just some sort of amalgam of ambiguous ‘berry’ flavors. The inside jam is a combination of strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and apple? Hey apple, you’re not a berry. These honestly don’t taste much different than standard Fig Newtons. The berry brings a slight tartness to the puree inside. The puree also tastes vaguely like a less sweet version of the inside of a strawberry Poptart. These actually really good, the only downside is that I found them a bit dry.

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Texture: 3.5/5 – The outside portion of this cookie is really dry. Like Death Valley dry. The only way to get through a couple of these would be if you had a beverage to go with. I also liked that they strained the fruit puree so that there are no seeds from the strawberries in it.

Smell: 3/5 – The berry flavor is the most prevalent smell in this cookie. I personally could not pinpoint what berries were used based solely on smell.

Appearance: 3/5 – Less is more with these – no frills, just cookie and jam innards.

Taste: 4/5 – These were pretty delicious. The most recognizable berry flavor was the strawberry. The raspberry made for a nice little tang and the after note was the blueberry. If you are a fan of Newtons, I would definitely give these a try if you are looking for a change from the norm. I would definitely buy these again.

November 24, 2012
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Limited Edition Pringles – White Chocolate Peppermint

Posted in Chips, Confectionaries

Hello friends! Have you all recovered from chowing down yesterday and losing your minds shopping on Black Friday? I personally did not buy anything of excitement today (unless you call a camera lens cleaning kit, two bottles of nail polish and a can of Pringles exciting). I think all the years I spent in retail have left me rather jaded – and I hate crowds.

I was cruising Target this morning with my Mom checking out the deals throughout the store and remembered that maybe just maybe they may have a different selection of stuff 2.5 hours away from where I live. Low and behold I wandered down the chip aisle and spotted the coveted candy cane can of Pringles sitting on the top shelf. I may or may not have ran down the aisle like a crazy person chasing after some sort of low priced door buster… over a can of Pringles… Yeah. I have no shame. I purchased something else to review the other day but these definitely had to cut in the review line. I have now completed the trifecta of holiday Pringle

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After a day of running around and doing a deep cleaning on my camera for a photoshot on Sunday, my Mom broke open a bag of chips and that is when I remembered that I had these gems tucked away in a bag behind me. I cracked the can and took a bit whiff. I could hardly smell anything but cardboard. There was a slight hint of something sweet, but nothing like the mint blast I was expecting. I passed the can to my Mom and she agreed that there was virtually no smell. I dumped out a few to inspect and their was hardly any coating on the outside, practically invisible.

We each tried one and were surprised at the quite different flavor than we expected to encounter. I was expecting a super minty slightly sweet crisp and was met with a slight mint taste and hardly any sweetness. After a few chews I picked up the classic slightly salty potato flavor that a normal crisp has. We each enjoyed a few more, eating them in various ways to see if we could figure out the way to get the maximum flavor from the crisps. We both agree that the best way to enjoy these is two at a time.

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Texture: 4/5 – These have the standard texture of your run of the mill Pringle. Pressed potato, a little bit of flavor dust and salt and that is about it.

Smell: 2/5 – There is hardly any smell to these crisps.

Appearance: 3/5 – These could easily fool someone into thinking that they were going to eat a regular Pringle. Actually this would be an awesome prank to pull on someone. You’re welcome.

Taste: 3.5/ – I think I like these? I was expecting more sweetness from the white chocolate, which was virtually untasteable, but the mint is not over powering at all. The best way I could probably describe these would be you brushed your teeth about an hour ago, so you still have that somewhat fresh mint flavor in your mouth, then you enjoyed some lightly salted Pringles. They aren’t bad, but aren’t great. Of the three the Pumpkin Spice Pringles are still my favorite this holiday season.

Check out what Junk Food Guy & The Impulsive Buy had to say about these!

November 23, 2012
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates! I am thankful for of course my family and friends, everyone that reads my site and decides that it’s not an abomination and returns and all of the other food blogs that have shown me love! Regular reviews return tomorrow as I am so full that I could literally pop if I tried to eat one more thing.

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The delicious feast my Mom prepared (not pictured, the awesome sugar cookies & cinnamon rolls my Dad made)

November 22, 2012
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Wheat Thins – Cheese Crunch

Posted in Snack Crackers

Hooray! It’s 4 day weekend time (unless you are working on Thursday or Friday, in which case I say, I am sorry)! I thought about hitting my local grocery store to see if anything new would tickle my fancy to review for you guys tonight, but then I remembered how much I hate large crowds – let alone large crowds searching for food for tomorrow. On my 45 minute drive home from work I mentally went through my stash and remembered that I had picked these up at Walmart not too long ago.

Of all the snack crackers, Wheat Thins are my absolute favorite. I could, and have, easily demolish a box in one sitting if I am not paying attention. There is just something about the slightly buttery wheat flavor with the perfect amount of salt that sends me into a snack food frenzy. There are a few things that I hold sacred in the snack food world. Don’t put ketchup on french fries, don’t flavor blast my Goldfish, and there is no such thing as too much butter on popcorn.

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I am not overly a fan of foods that have extreme flavor coatings. My mentality behind it is that it does not really enhance the flavor of the food it is on, but just clobbers it to death. Upon popping the bag open of the Cheese Crunch Wheat Thins, I was indeed met with a heavy coating of cheese powder on my beloved snack. I don’t know if working in grocery has turned me off to the way some cheese smells, or if working in the medical industry has exposed me to too much vomit, but honestly? This smelled like a mix between the two. You’re welcome for the mental picture.

After getting past the smell, I popped a couple in my mouth. Honestly? I wasn’t impressed. What have you done to my Wheat Thin? I feel like adding all these flavors to my favorite snack cracker is nothing short of trying to reinvent the wheel. The cheese flavor is definitely present, but does not leave any sort of aftertaste once you get to the thin itself. The sheer amount of powder all over these things really botches the entire flavor for me. Between these, Ranch, Sundried Tomato, and the Zesty Salsa, I only find the Zesty Salsa flavor somewhat decent.

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Texture: 3/5 – Due to the intense amount of powdered cheese, it is akin to picking up a flocked Christmas tree. It gets everywhere. The powder is not grainy so it does not change the texture of the normally crunchy snack cracker.

Smell: 1/5 – Ugh.. no thank you.

Appearance: 2/5 – It is apparent by the cheese that you are not eating a normal Wheat Thin. These are definitely a snack that you do not want to consume if you are wearing a dark colored shirt to the office. Everyone will think you have a lovely case of dandruff!

Taste: 2.5/5 – I did not care for these very much. The cheese powder was overpowering and totally steamrolled the flavor of the Wheat Thin. I feel like had the cheese been baked into the cracker instead of sprinkled on the outside, that they would have yielded better results. These are no replacement for a delicious Cheez-It though.

See what Junk Food Guy had to say about these!

November 21, 2012
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