Pop-Tarts – Gone Nutty! PB&J Strawberry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cracker Jack Popcorn – Butter Toffee

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.

Pocky – Peanut

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.