Project 7 – Birthday Cake Gum

So I have kind of a Sunday ritual. Well, it’s kind of a new one, but the beginning part of said ritual is the same. For a while I was drinking a lot of Starbucks – like… A LOT. Not only is that stuff packed with calories, but it also takes it’s toll quickly on ones pocket book. So I made deal with myself that I can have a cup of chai tea (my favorite beverage from Starbucks, as I don’t drink coffee) on the weekends and I couple that with a bagel from the Noah’s next door. It’s rather nice really. I grab my drink, then my bagel and lounge for a moment while people watching then I head home. Well it seems that I have to always pick up something from the near by Target, whether it be toilet paper, cat food, whatever, but now wandering around Target even when I have nothing urgent to buy has been my new thing. It’s kind of relaxing to meander up and down the aisles when the store is quiet and look at all the things that I don’t need.

This morning while in the check out line I finally caved and bought the Project 7 Birthday Cake gum that I’ve looked at many times before. The idea of birthday cake flavored gum sounds pretty gross, bought I thought I’d give it a whirl. Plus a few pennies of my purchase go towards a good cause so why not.

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This gum comes in a small resealable package that is bound to open in the bottom of my purse. Judging by the picture on the front of the package, I am in for a treat of yellow cake frosted with a delicious looking pink butter cream frosting. At least that’s what I built up in my brain.

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I popped a piece in my mouth hoping for the best. I’m not really a flavored gum chewer, I prefer the original Trident, but I do absolutely love cake. I started chewing and did not really get the flavor of cake. It was more like chewing on a solid form of Redi-Whip whipped cream. The flavor was good, but was not cake-esque to me. Unfortunately this gum suffered the same fate as most novelty flavored gums and the taste disappeared in less than 5 minutes and I was left chewing flavorless rubber.

Texture: 5/5 - This gum is pretty run of the mill Chicklet style gum. Crunchy exterior, chewy gum interior. Nothing fancy here.

Smell: 3/5 - As a kid did you ever decorate cookies with the Wilton frosting that comes in a squeeze tube? This is exactly what the gum package smells like. Sweet but with a very artificial flavor undertone.

Appearance: 1/5 - Now I feel like this is where the product could have really sold my brain. Isn’t the saying that we eat with our eyes? It would have been awesome to peel open this package to find 12 little funfetti pieces of gum staring back at me, but instead I was greeted with plain underwhelming white pieces of gum. I guess you could trick someone into eating one of these without them knowing the flavor, so there is that.

Taste: 2.5/5 - This gum was decent. I will give it that, but like I mentioned before, it tasted more like whipped cream than birthday cake to me. I was also disappointed (though I anticipated) that the flavor only lasted a few minutes. Overall, I would probably only buy this as a novelty item to give to a friend as a little fun gift with a larger birthday gift or card.

Have you tried this gum? What did you think?

Lunchables Lunch Combinations – Dirt Cake

So I wish could say “I can’t even remember the last time I had a Lunchable”… but that would be completely untrue. On occasion the suck me in with the temptation of gross chicken nuggets and cold Pringles. Despite being gross, I just can’t get enough sometimes. I am also sad that I can never find the original Lunchable anymore. Are they even made anymore? Do kids even know the struggle we had of a Lunchable with no drink and an Andes mint as dessert (I am not complaining about the mint, I love Andes mints – best reason to eat at Olive Garden aside from the unlimited breadsticks). As I was strolling down the cold foods section in Walmart, looking for lunch meat, I spotted this gem tucked away between 700 different Lunchables, that were all pretty much the same, but presented with different things, and 20 flavors of Rev sandwich roll things.

I was a bit shocked that this is considered a lunch combination, considering that the calorie intake is almost as much as what I eat for an entire lunch somedays. People would give this to their kid in addition to either another Lunchable or in a sack lunch? Crazy!

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So despite not being able to say “I can’t remember the last time I had a Lunchable”, I can however say I can’t remember the last time I had dirt cake. I am not really into my food being mixed together. I like that each of the items are separated so that I can choose to eat them separately if I please. I contemplated this for a moment, but I felt like I was doing myself a disservice and not getting the full experience of the Lunchable… Dessertable…? I grabbed this treat from the fridge, plopped down on the couch and watched some old Monday Night Nitro while digging -haha!- in.

It took a little for the gummy worms to not be crazy chewy from being cold. The frosting in the middle, which I remember it being pudding as a child, was really syrupy in that it was really drippy, and the cookie crumbs were… cookie crumbs. Most of the combinations of flavors were good, but I did not care for lime gummy worm + frosting + cookie crumbs. Kinda gross. I ran out of worms before I ran out of the frosting and cookie crumbs, so I grabbed a spoon and polished off the rest because I’m an adult and I do what I want.

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Texture: 3/5 – The gummy worms started out as really chewy because they were cold, then the outside got really sticky from the condensation from the temperature change. The frosting was really syrupy and the cookie crumbs were crunchy.

Smell: 4.5/5 – This was chocolate delight! Yum!

Appearance: 3/5 – Nothing really exciting about this offering. I feel like it should have included a spoon.

Taste: 3.5/5 – This Lunchable was okay. The parts were good and the sum of the parts were good, but it wasn’t anything I haven’t had before. I wish they were full sized gummy worms because I ran out of those well before I ran out of frosting and cookie crumbs. Also the frosting was really messy because it was so syrupy. I also needed a spoon to eat the remaining cookie crumbs and frosting, which I guess if I were my child self, I would have just used my finger. The gummy and crunchy texture was nice, but there were some odd flavor combinations from the various flavors of the gummy worms that weren’t all that appetizing. I would probably not buy this again but it was nice to try something new. PS. where is the cake in all of this Lunchables?!

Dippin’ Dots – Birthday Cake Flavored Magic Milk Straws

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)

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)

Arthur Paul’s Cake Pops – Birthday Cake

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?