Monthly Archives

March 2013

Happy Easter

Posted in Uncategorized

peeps

Hey Peeps! I hope everyone has a fantastic Easter and it is filled with so much candy that your teeth fall out.

Check out some of my favorite candy reviews from the defunct website Bad-Candy.com. Sadly the last update was in 2008 but they have some of the most hilarious reviews I have ever read (I was a fan when the website first started). If you don’t laugh at any of them, well then you’re not human.

 

March 30, 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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Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals – Nacho Cheese

Posted in Chips

The other day I brought you the au-natural version of these chips, but today I will be trying out the Nacho Cheese version. Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of a nacho cheese chip, I instantly think of a Doritos. There is just something so addicting about the super cheesy, slightly spicy chip that always tempts me to eat the whole bag.

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Pepperidge Farm’s version looks a little less cheese coated and more spice. Most of their snacks have the flavor baked in with the exception of the Goldfish cracker, and even then, if you are looking for a cheese powder coated snack, you’ll have to opt for the flavor blasted. One advantage of this is that you don’t have Cheeto fingers when you’re done. Personally I think eating the cheese powder off your fingertips is akin to eating the crunchy part off the end of a corn dog (the best part) but to each their own.

When I popped open the bag I was slightly surprised to see how empty it was. Now I know chip companies pack their bags full of air so that you don’t end up with a bag of chip shards, but there is nothing more disappointing than opening a bag of chips and realizing you purchased more air, than chip. Pepperidge Farm air in a bag! Now with chips! Being lactose intolerant, I can appreciate a snack that goes a little easy on the cheese – not to say that I don’t torture myself with other cheesy foods.

The term nacho cheese usually conjures up thoughts of a mild cheddar cheese with a slight jalapeno flavoring to it – although I am not sure where all the spices come in on these chips, but I’ll go with it. Upon first bite… well… to me, tasted like the smell of BO. After I got past that, I could taste the slight spicy cheese flavoring to it, but the stank was pretty overpowering in my mouth. I am sure that some of you are wondering how something tastes like the smell of, but I assure you, it is possible. It is like when something is too flowery tasting, it tastes like the smell of perfume. Just go with it. Much like the original tortilla flavor that I tried the other day, these chips taste stale to me. They have a good crunch, but my brain just flashes STALE! STALE! STALE! ABORT! while I eat them. If I had to choose between these or the Simply Tortilla, the Simply Tortilla would win hands down, mostly because I can slather them with something like gross gas station nacho cheese or salsa.

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Texture : 3/5 - These chips are GRAINY. I don’t know if it is from the way they are processed, or if it is because they are baked, or because of the cheese baked in, but these are really grainy. They do have a nice crunch to them though.

Smell : 3/5 - The smell does not match the flavor, there is a nice spice and cheese scent when you open the bag.

Appearance : 3/5 - To me these look more like a multigrain chip, than a nacho cheese tortilla chip. I do however like their size because it means that you won’t spear the top of your mouth while trying to stuff the entire chip into your mouth.

Taste : 2/5 - I really tried to like these but I could not get past the BO undertone. I found that if I ate a few at a time the flavor was more apparent, but I feel like the nacho cheese flavoring really missed the mark. I also thought the flavor was odd in that the fresh bag of chips tasted stale. I think that this is partially due to the chip being baked. All in all, I would most likely never buy these again unless there was a flavor tweak to them.

March 13, 2013
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Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals – Simply Tortilla

Posted in Chips

Hello hello! Am I the only one who constantly says Pepperidge Farms? In fact, I find saying Pepperidge Farm rather weird, but it wasn’t until I started reviewing food that I had discovered that I was saying it wrong the last 29 years of my life – yes apparently I was saying Pepperidge Farms when I was an infant. Anyways, they have come out with a couple of new chips that I decided to give a try. Today I will be sampling the Simply Tortilla version, and tomorrow I shall bring you the other.

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Now when I think Pepperidge Farm, I think cookies. Delicious, perfectly baked, I-can-eat-the-whole-bag-in-one-sitting cookies. I know that they also make a small selection of crackers and pretzels, but I don’t really foresee them breaking into the chip game. Fun fact – did you know that Pepperidge Farm is owned by Campbell Soup Company? I decided to start with the Simply Tortilla chips because I figured they would be the safe bet.

The chips are about the size of an US half-dollar, which makes it easy to grab an entire handful and shove them into your mouth at one time. The chip has a very distinct corn flavor with a good amount of salt to satisfy the tortilla chip craving. My only problem? They taste stale. I think it’s because of the baking process, but they honestly taste like you left them next to your bed for a few days and in an act of desperation because you had no more chips left in the house you ate them. Unlike normal stale chips, they are not chewy, which is where my mind kind of gets hung up. Stale taste, crunchy chip, does not compute.

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Texture : 4/5 – The chip is very crunchy, borderline cracker. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it does not have the same texture as a regular tortilla chip. Maybe it’s the baking process, maybe it’s something else, but it is definitely different.

Smell : 4/5 – Upon opening the bag you are greeted with strong corn smell.

Appearance : 5/5 – The size of these chips are perfect for me because they don’t result in the dreaded stingy corners of your mouth when trying to jam an oversized tortilla chip into it. They also look just like any other regular store bought tortilla chip.

Taste : 2.5/5 – These chips were Simply Mediocre. The taste is slightly off making this some what health alternative taste a little weird. I did not try them with salsa, which may be a redeeming quality, if you have, let me know! If I want the chip I’m eating to taste like a bag of stale tortilla chips, I will just leave a bag out for a few days and roll with it, not only will it taste the same, but it will be way cheaper. I would not buy these again.

March 11, 2013
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The Graze Debacle

Posted in Uncategorized

As some of you may have seen, or been part of the great Graze Debacle that happened on my blog recently. It was never my intention to lead people on into thinking that I could get them hooked up with a Graze invite. When I originally started receiving my Graze boxes, I kept my invites with the intention of giving them away on my blog when I wrote my first review – all was good and well until I discovered that Graze had shutdown all of my invites (along with MANY other people). I pulled the invite portion from my blog as quickly as I could to try to do a bit of damage control.

Part of this consisted of contacting Graze themselves to see if they could offer an expiration as to why my invites had expired in the first place, because there was no expiration date listed anywhere that I could find. I was given this response :

I completely see your point of view and totally understand your frustration about not being able to use the code that was sent to you – and I can’t disagree with your opinion that it would have been far better service to let folks know what we were going to do in advance of stopping the codes.

I am afraid that our sole reason for changing the codes from 4 invites to 1 right away is that we had to act really fast. Customers were signing up incredibly fast and we were in danger of getting to a point where we would be unable to offer customers a good service. We are really sorry that this change happened so quickly and that we did not inform you.

She later went on to explain that they updated their FAQs to reflect this information, but I can’t say I check website FAQs every time I visit a website to see if they have added something new.

I will still continue to purchase Graze boxes, but I definitely feel like they dropped the ball with their customer service in regards to this situation. I am working on getting those of you who were interested invites (through friends and the like) and will be more cautious in the future about situations like these.

Thank you for your understanding, and let’s get back to eating some junk food.

Erin

March 10, 2013
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Pocky – Peanut

Posted in Confectionaries

Good evening! So tonight I bring you my final purchase from the Asian market, Pocky Peanut! I have never seen this flavor at the market before, and little did I know, that it was expired when I bought it, whoops. Usually I am really particular about expiration dates due to the food safety training I have received at my previous job and being a nationally certified food safety manager (I’m done being a snob now). Somehow I managed to overlook this tiny element and ended up buying it anyways. And I ate it.

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So let’s get the obvious out of the way first, it says nutcream on the outside. I of course have the mentally of a 14 year old boy and couldn’t stop giggling when I originally saw this. BEST. MARKETING. EVER. Even if I wasn’t interested in trying this, I would have most likely purchased it from that part alone. Anyways, that aside, I love me some peanut butter… even though there are sunflowers on the box. What in the world? Have I had my plants wrong my entire life and no one bothered to tell me?

Now I don’t know if this tasted any different because it was expired or if it tasted that way because that is how it supposed to taste, but I really felt like the cookie/biscuit portion overpowered the peanut taste. I think I was partially expecting it to have more of a Reese’s peanut butter flavor to it than just a straight peanut flavor to it. Over all they were okay, but I was expecting something completely different.

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Texture : 4/5 – The biscuit portion was nice and crispy and the peanut coating was nice and smooth. It seemed more like a peanut white chocolate coating than a peanut butter, but it was good texture wise.

Smell : 3/5 – These smelled slightly peanut buttery, but more cookie like than anything.

Appearance : 3/5 – I was expecting the outside coating to be darker than it was, as it was almost white which was unexpected. My batch of Pocky sticks also seemed to be slightly overcooked/baked.

Taste : 2.5/5 – These were okay. I was hoping for more of a bold peanut flavor, but it was rather mild. The cookie/biscuit part was alright, even though it was slightly overbaked. I’d buy this again just to see if the non expired version tastes the same.

March 9, 2013
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Graze Box – Number 1

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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My first delivery had a nice mixture of different types of treats that Graze will send you.

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Nacho Libre : salsa almonds, cheesy sombreros, jumbo chili corn

This snack mix was really good. The almonds had a nice coating of spice and the cheesy sombreros are light and crunchy. The jumbo chili corn were seriously on steroids, move over Corn Nuts.
Overall this mix : love

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Billionaires Shortbread : Belgian milk chocolate, almonds, cranberries, fudge

I will admit, I was a little leery of the cranberries in this mix. I really like cranberry flavored things, but I don’t like the texture of raisins, so I was cautious. The Belgian milk chocolate was crazy good. I found the almonds to be a bit disappointing because they were completely plain, which made them slightly bland, not to mention due to the lack of skins on the almonds, they were squeaky on my teeth. The tiny fudge cubes were really yummy. Ready for my feelings on the cranberries? YUM. They were really good and not raisin-y at all.
Overall this mix : love

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Inspired by Jaffa Cake : Belgian dark chocolate, orange raisins, roasted hazelnuts

Up until a few minutes ago, I had no idea what a Jaffa cake was. After a little google-fu I found out its a sponge cookie with a layer of orange jam with a coating of chocolate. I think had I known this I might have passed on this mix, but hey, what’s the harm in trying.

As before, the chocolate is very good. The hazelnuts have the same problem as the almonds did in the Billionaires shortbread, lack of roasting, not to mention they really picked up the orange flavor. The orange raisins? I can’t. I tried, I really tried. Nope. Not only do I not like raisins, I don’t care for oranges.
Overall this mix : trash

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Summer Berry Compote : berry compote with wholemeal shortbread dippers

I was most excited to try this one in the box. Shortest review yet? SO GOOD. The compote was sweet and tart and the shortbread was exceptionally good.
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.

March 8, 2013
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Pocky – Coconut

Posted in Confectionaries

Evening friends! Tonight I bring you another offering from my trip to the Asian market. I have had regular and strawberry Pocky before but I have never had coconut. I enjoy Pocky and coconut, so this has to be good.

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I was surprised to see how few were in the box when I opened it. Usually there are quite a bit more inside but these look mighty fancy. I really liked that they put them in a clear package so you can see the deliciousness you’re getting into. Each stick of Pocky is coated in a later of chocolate, then a layer of coconut followed with a final layer of chocolate.

Normally when I eat Pocky I like to take teeny little bites quickly like some sort of rodent but the coconut Pocky just doesn’t lend itself to that. I was greeted with the familiar flavor of chocolate and a cookie biscuit but the coconut flavor was a bit underwhelming. I could taste it, but it was not as bold as I expected it to be.

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Texture : 3/5 – The biscuit has a nice snap to it, the chocolate is smooth, and the coconut is flaky. I feel like the tiny shavings make for a kind of weird texture.

Smell : 3/5 – This flavor of Pocky mostly smells like chocolate.

Appearance : 4/5 – The coconut is very visible on the Pocky as well as the amount of chocolate. These look very tasty!

Taste : 3.5/5 – These are rather good but I was hoping for more coconut flavor. The flakes moreso got stuck in my teeth than anything. The biscuit is good as is the chocolate. I’d give these another go.

March 7, 2013
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Everyburger Cookies

Posted in Cookies

One of the nice things about living in a larger city is the abundance of various ethnic markets. I always joke and say that I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like (but that’s not true) however I have yet to try an Asian confection that I did not care for.

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I was introduced to Everyburger cookies by my partner in snack food and life crimes Richard. He is far more versed in these treats than I, but he knows me pretty well so I take his word for it when he says that I will like something.

When I first picked up the package I couldn’t help but be enamored with all the fun art all over it. Good thing American packaging is usually more subdued or I would buy all of the things, every of the time.

The package contains two individually sealed trays of eight cookies each. The cookies are about the diameter of quarter or so. They have a cookie “bun” with a chocolate patty and what I’m guessing is orange colored vanilla “cheese”. Or secret sauce, or I don’t know. These bite sized cookies are pretty irresistible. The cookie is crunchy with a light sesame flavor to it. Both if the chocolates are flavorful and sweet, delicious! My only qualm is that some “buns” are a little overcooked on the top sometimes. My guess is that they use a bit of an egg wash to get the coloring. But even those are still yummy.

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Texture : 4/5 – this bite sized cookie has great texture. Crunchy outside cookie with a perfect amount of smooth solid chocolate in the middle.

Smell : 4/5 – The cookie has a sweet smell with a slight sesame undertone.

Appearance : 3/5 - These cute cookies make for a really fun snack. Sometimes when they are sandwiched together its done before the chocolate has set all the way so they get a little wonky, but who doesn’t like a messy burger?!

Taste : 5/5 – These cookies are delicious and addicting. I dare you to eat just one package.

March 6, 2013
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Keebler Cookies – Pitter Patter Cookies

Posted in Cookies

Hey everyone! If you don’t live in the US you may not be familiar with Girl Scout season. I am not convinced that people give up on their fitness resolutions because of lack of commitment, I am convinced they give up because of Girl Scout season.

I don’t know what is so addictive about their cookies, maybe it’s because they are laced with merit badges, dreams, unicorn tears, and sickeningly sweet girls hawking them at every supermarket, big box store, and work place, but I feel like Keebler is trying to get in on this action with the release of their Pitter Patter cookies.

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Pitter Patter cookies are most similar to Do-si-dos but are also sort of reminiscent of a Nutter Butter. There is a crunchy cookie exterior with a nice layering of peanut butter in the middle. Is this cookie the answer to my scout cookie crazing when they are out of season?! Maybe.

The cookie portion by itself is good. It has a hint of peanut butter baked in (at least that’s what it tastes like). It’s quite crunchy and somewhat dense, but not to the point where it’s too much cookie. The peanut butter is decent. It has a nice sweetness to it and a very faint salt undertone which keeps the cookie from turning into one sugary peanut butter brick.

The reason why I said maybe on the scout cookie replacement was because they use a different cookie. Girl Scout cookies use an oatmeal cookie for theirs which not only changes the flavor, but the texture. I’m also slightly confused about Keebler’s naming choice for these. Name aside, these cookies are decent. I really with Keebler would have done something slightly different to sent themselves apart from the other peanut butter sandwich cookies, but overall, I’d buy them again.

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Texture : 3/5 – The crunchy cookie coupled with the moist peanut butter makes for an enjoyable texture that does not leave you feeling like you just but into the driest desert.

Smell : 4/5 – There is no mistaking that these are all business when it comes to peanut butter.

Appearance : 2.5/5 – The basketweave pattern on the outside of the cookie is alright, but there is nothing overly exciting about the cook of these cookies.

Taste : 3/5 – These cookies were pretty middle of the road. I enjoyed the cookie portion and the peanut butter was decent, but I didn’t find them all that memorable. If you like Nutter Butters and Do-si-dos, you will most likely enjoy these.

March 5, 2013
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