Limited Edition Junior Mints – Pastel Edition

Posted in Candy

So I think I should start this post off by first apologizing for the less than stellar pictures included in this post. Truth be told, my sweet tooth struck while laying in bed and it was rather dark in our room, making for less than great picture quality. Normally I would exude some sort of self control and save a few to take a picture of in better lighting, but this box had no chance.

Now on with the show. I love Junior Mints. I really enjoy them cold and if you haven’t tried them that way, you haven’t lived. I saw these at my near by Bel-Air store and had to get them. I’ve had a few incarnations of Junior mints, mostly released at Christmas time, but I was curious how these would taste since they do not have their signature dark chocolate outside coating.

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Normally there is something about Junior Mints that keeps me from eating the entire box. Usually about half way in I get the Junior Mint upset stomach and have to put the box away, but there was something about these that I could not resist. Maybe it was the pastel outside coating, maybe I just really wanted some Junior Mints, maybe I just told myself to suck it up – who knows, but these are good. If you are a mint lover, but not really into chocolate, next time Easter rolls around, grab yourself a box. The inside still has the gooey mint filling, and the outside has a good coating of non-descript what I’m guessing is white chocolate on the outside. To me, it was rather flavorless, but that’s okay because I think I would eat the mint filling out of a jar if given the option – I have no shame.

As for the pastels, I guess they consider pink, yellow, and blue the extent of the spectrum and was slightly disappointed when I poured a bunch into my hand and pretty much only had blue. Again this does nothing to affect the flavor, but is more of a personal preference, but I would have liked to have seen some color variation.

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Texture :  5/5 - Junior Mints have a great smooth texture that is part of the appeal to me. Peppermint Patties are one of my candy favorites also, but I often find that the inside mint portion is slightly gritty. This is not the case when it comes to Junior Mints. These babies will practically melt in your mouth.

Smell : 5/5 - The only smell you will find with these are MINT. Yummy!

Appearance : 3/5 –  As a slightly complained before the lack of color variation with tehse made me slightly disappointed, but it was nice to see a little something different in the box than all that dark chocolate. I also imagine that if I left these in the car, like I somehow always manage to do with regular Junior Mints, that instead of a large blob of brown goop, it would be a pretty technicolor mess inside the box instead.

Taste : 4/5 - I was actually surprised that despite the lack of dark chocolate these tasted pretty similar to the original Junior Mint. Of course the chocolate element adds a bit of a different taste, but I know that not everyone enjoys chocolate as much as I do – so for those of you that don’t, these may just be the minty candy for you.

April 7, 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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News Scoop

Posted in News

Here are a few news tidbits for this week in junk food :

- Lays “Do Us A Flavor” voting is still open for the 3 finalists for the Lays contest – Which is your favorite?

- Want to feel old? McDonalds Chicken Nuggets turn 30 this year. How did we live before 1983?

- Can’t get enough of the Doritos Locos Tacos? Did you know that this has been the biggest food release in the history of Taco Bell? Doritos Locos Tacos have been so popular that they have created 15,000 jobs since their release. Loco.

- Annie’s plans on adding Cheddar Squares and Graham Crackers to its organic line this year. Sounds delicious!

- Green Giant is leaving the freezer aisle and heading to your local chip section with their new offerings of tortilla chips and sweet potato chips.

- Hostess lovers rejoice – their new owners plan to have Twinkies back on store shelves by summer of this year.

April 3, 2013
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Peeps – 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Vanilla Creme

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries

Well I hope that everyone had a fantastic Easter and didn’t get pranked too bad yesterday on April Fools Day. I myself scored major on the candy front for Easter, and my prank didn’t happen until today when my boss decided to tell me that one of the employees from corporate wanted to sit down with me tomorrow and give me a talking to about a question that I asked. I am pretty new to my job (I started in mid-December) so when she told me that, I instantly started to panic, luckily she didn’t let me freak out too long before letting me know that she was joking. No harm no foul. Speaking of… fowl… NICE SEGUE (that looks like it is spelled all kinds of wrong)

Peeps have turned 60! Good grief, who knew? I imagine not much has changed since the original incarnation of the Peep, but I must say, they are looking FABULOUS for their anniversary party.

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A while back when I reviewed Katy’s Kettle Chips I complained that they were lacking pizzazz because there were clearly sparkles on the outside of the bag. Well I guess Peeps heard my gripe and turned up the disco dust on these guys. The confetti sprinkles almost look too good to eat. Almost. The vanilla creme part drew me in because I felt like I could think of what a Peep tasted like, but I couldn’t completely remember, so vanilla seemed kind of fancy to me.

I took one bite and was met with the familiar taste of a normal Peep. I thought maybe that it was just my mind fooling me so I of course had to eat the other 2, and sure enough – same ole Peeps but fancy pants outside.

I was reading on the Peep wiki that there is a Peep Off where people buy tons of discounted Peeps after Easter and compete in a competition to see how many can be eaten in a 30 minute period. This originally started in Maryland, but I was surprised to see that my current hometown of Sacramento has its own competition and its current record holder has consumed 102 in one sitting. (that is over 2,800 calories/700 grams of sugar worth of peeps) Honestly, eating all three was pushing it, not to mention that Peeps always make my teeth feel like they have sweaters on afterwards.

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Texture : 4/5 – Personally, I prefer my Peeps a bit on the stale side, but there is something about a delicious fresh spongy fluffy as a cloud Peep. The outside still had its sugar coating giving it the slight crunch and the rainbow dust did not change the texture at all.

Smell : 5/5 – These smelled rather vanilla-y right out of the package. Yum!

Appearance : 6/5 – Yes, I am giving these a 6/5 because I love the way these look. Candy should be fun and colorful and I wish more companies remembered that.

Taste : 3/5 – Don’t get me wrong, these were delicious, but I was really missing the distinct vanilla flavored boasted on the outside of the packaging. To me these tasted just like a normal Peep. I also think that they could have taken a risk and done an interesting flavor instead of choosing a fool proof flavor like vanilla for their 60th anniversary celebratory Peep.

April 2, 2013
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April Fools!

Posted in Uncategorized

Back to back holidays you say? Wowee! Just a quick update to let you all know that my friends (in real life!) over at Fist Full Of Potions have mentioned yours truly on their 100th podcast!

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Fist Full of Snacks is an April Fools joke for their listeners, but everything they talk about is true! The return of Twinkies, Doritos Locos Tacos, Lays Potato Chips, and much more! Sadly you won’t hear my magical voice, but I provided the cheat sheet of topics! If you’ve got some time to spare and don’t mind a fart joke or two, give them a listen and tell them that SYD sent you!

April 1, 2013
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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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