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fruit

GoPicnic – Chocolate Almond Butter & Croissant

Posted in Bakery, Bread

Remember when I used to update my blog on the regular? Yeah me too. Somehow, we now find ourselves in August, 8 months from my last update. A while back I posted how life has been crazy and I have been trying to figure out how to balance both life and blogging. As you can see, I still have yet to find that balance, but dammit, I’m going to try and make it work. I recently moved, so I have been getting settled into my new place and finally have internet. I have also been working like a mad woman at my job. While leiserly clicking around on my time card recently, I noticed that I have clocked over 100 hours of overtime this year. So, if you have been wondering where I have been, there is your answer.

I have quite the stockpile to work through, and my partner in crime never fails to give me grief about how I buy things with the intention of reviewing them, but they end up sitting in the cabinet never touched. Boo. So that needs to change, not only because I now look like a junk food dooms day prepper, but I honestly miss blogging.

My most recent snack food endevor was a small meal kit that was picked up at Target. The entire line of products doesn’t really appeal to me, mostly because I don’t like buying things that I know I won’t eat everything in the box. That is why I have a hard time buying things like Lunchables – because I am lactose intolerant, I never end up eating the cheese, so I feel like it is a waste (though not to mention that Lunchables are hardly food to begin with, but they are great in a pinch at work). When I saw this kit, I was originally turned off by the apricot fruit leather, because I am not a fan of apricots, but over on my personal blog, I gave myself the challenge of trying new foods so, I went with it.

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This meal comes in a cute little box that easily fits in a purse – although I would not consider this a meal per say, the calorie count would make it one.

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The contents were slightly underwhelming when opening the box. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but something a little more visually appealing for sure. I was concerned that because somehow they say that the croissant will stay fresh until the end of this year, that it would be dry and flavorless. I started with the fruit leather, and was actually quite surprised that I liked it. The flavor was sweet and the leather portion was chewy but not where I felt like I was having apricot jerky.

Next I moved on to the croissant and almond butter. While I was training to run a half marathon (which never came to fruition, though I am proud that I can run much longer than I previously could) I would often look for snacks that runners could carry and eat while running distances. A few friends suggested the single serve packs of Justin’s Almond Butter. Yeah, about that. Almonds and I have a relatively new forged relationship, and I just could not get into the taste, or the texture. I felt like I was eating sand. Too gritty, not enough flavor to off set it. I thought with the addition of chocolate that I might have a better experience – but that really didn’t turn out to be the case. One thing I think could be included with this kit would be a small knife or if the peanut butter was put in a small tub instead of a squeezable package.

I prefer to dip things like bagels and what not into peanut butter instead of spreading it on it, and that’s how I chose to eat this. I was actually surprised that the croissant was moist, buttery, and flaky, despite being able to sit on a shelf for a year. I was not a fan of the chocolate almond butter, but I honestly think it’s just a personal preference, not that it was bad. I was expecting something sweeter like Nutella, but the flavor to me was a bit underwhelming.

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Texture: 3/5 – The fruit leather was perfectly made. It was chewy and not tough, and I would definitely eat it again. The croissant was airy and light, like you would expect. I was honestly surprised by this and would by these in a stand alone packaging. The chocolate almond butter was a little gritty for my liking, but when combined with the croissant it was not nearly as noticeable.

Smell: 4/5 – The fruit leather smelled like fresh apricots, not artificial or sugary sweet. The croissant smelled like a typical croissant. Surprisingly the chocolate almond butter smelled more of almonds than of chocolate despite it’s appearance.

Appearance: 4/5 – I liked that this snack came in a cute recycled box that I could toss into my bag without worrying that the croissant would become a pancake. The packaging of the fruit leather was nice. The croissant and chocolate almond butter were both in no frills packaging. I would have liked to have seen a little more functional packaging on the almond butter, but that is just personal preference.

Taste: 3.5/5 – The fruit leather was my favorite portion of this box, despite having the most apprehension about it. The flavoring from the apricots was a nice balance of fresh and sweet. I would buy these stand alone to put in my lunch. The croissant was pretty good, but was not anything spectacular. I did not care for the chocolate almond butter and would have preferred something a bit sweeter in its place. Maybe if they punched up the chocolate flavoring just a smidge more, I would be interested in trying it again. Overall I am pretty indifferent about this pack, and would take it or leave it. Nice to throw in your bag if you’re into the flavor profile, but nothing that you couldn’t put together at home for a little less cashola.

August 16, 2014
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Graze Box – Number Four

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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This weeks mix is a half and half blend of sweet and savory.

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Fruit and Seed Flapjack : rustic rolled oat flapjack with mixed seeds and dried fruits
If you would have told me that there were apricots, dates, currents, sultanas, and raisins in this flapjack, I would have probably turned my nose up at it. I think in the last few Graze reviews I have made it pretty clear my feelings about raisins, but I had no idea when I was noshing on this delicious oat bar. Side note, because of my insane love of Hall & Oates, it is nearly impossible for me to type oat or oats correctly the first time. The flapjack is very moist and chewy, and the fruits included give it a great sweetness to it that is just right. The seeds that are included are sunflower and pumpkin which are both very tasty.
Overall this mix : love

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Brooklyn Bites : BBQ pumpkin seeds, poppy seed pretzels, and cheese cashews
This mix looks like a match made in heaven. Cheese cashews, poppy seed pretzels, and pumpkin seeds, yum! Unlike the other mix in my last Graze box, the pumpkin seeds in this are flavored, which takes this mix to a whole ‘nother level. The cheese cashews are slightly salty with a hint of cheese, but still keep the delicious cashew flavor. The pretzels were what I found the most underwhelming in this mix – they were pretty bland. All of the flavoring is concentrated on the pumpkin seeds which were slightly overpowering with the first bite I took. But out of the whole mix, I think I would say that they were my favorite.
Overall this mix : like

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Marvellous Macaroon : amaretti drops, almond slices, coconut flakes, and white chocolate buttons
Well it looks like the white chocolate didn’t hold up very well the few minutes my bag sat in the backseat of my car, baking away in the blazing hot sun. This made most of this mix turn into a katamari of ingredients, but I think it kind of worked out. The amaretti drops are so good, as are the white chocolate buttons. When this mix is eaten as it is intended, a little bit of everything at one time, it does in fact taste just like a macaroon, but because of my weird food habits, I eat everything separately. Sadly I was left with a bunch of almonds and coconut flakes and together those two things are the most bland thing on the planet.
Overall this mix : like

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My Thai : sweet chili sauce with baked soy bites
I love japanese cracker mixes – and I especially like the soy crackers, so when I opened my Graze box to find this mix in there, I was quite delighted. As usual I saved what I thought would be the best for last and I think I made the right choice. The chili sauce was spicy and sweet, but I am more of a dipper than a scooper when it comes to things like sauces, salsas, and the like, so I felt like they either gave me too much or didn’t give me enough crackers. The crackers alone were so good, and I could eat an entire bag if I had one and the chili sauce was very good. I could smother rice with the sauce or maybe some gyoza, man it was good. And sadly because I was so starved at work, I demolished the tray before even managing to take a picture. Crap.
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.

April 25, 2013
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Skittles – Darkside

Posted in Candy

Hello!

I hope everyone is doing well this fine eve – I myself am taking a trip to the darkside. No, no, I am not watching a marathon of the Star Wars flicks and contemplating who I would use the force grip on, I am enjoying Skittles new offering Darkside Skittles. Skittles has a few incarnations that I really enjoy, the classic and the tropical being my favorite, but according to this package, I am about to embark on a trip to the other side of the rainbow. (I though the other side of the rainbow was the same as the beginning, who knew!)

You may have noticed a small little cat face poking out behind the package of Skittles, that would be Jimothy and he refused to occupy himself while I attempted to take a picture – I guess I have a new assistant.

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So what flavors you ask compose the flavors of the darkside? Pomegranate, dark berry, midnight lime, forbidden fruit, and blood orange. So what you’re telling me Skittles is that you came up with a new flavor and rebranded the rest to make them spooooooky. I also though the release of these seemed a little mistimed – Halloween would have been a better gimmick, no? Anyways, like a moth to a flame, I couldn’t help myself and may or may not have devoured the entire bag in one sitting. Dear Internet, riddle me this…

How do you eat your various colored candies?

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Personally? I organize them by color and then eat them based on flavor preference, starting with my least favorite first. In the event that there is no difference in flavor vs colors (i.e. M&Ms) I organize them by color and eat them based on color preference, starting with my least favorite – which is brown in case you were wondering.

I started with blood orange, since I am not a huge fan of orange flavored things. They were OK – I noticed no difference in flavor than from the regular Skittles. Next I moved on to the forbidden fruit. What is a forbidden fruit anyways? According to the Bible, its an apple, but these are definitely not apple flavored. I did not care for whatever fruit flavor this was as it was a tad bit soapy. Next we have dark berry, which tasted like your standard nondescript berry flavored mixture, leaving you to wonder which berry it actually is. Pomegranate followed, which I also thought tasted a slight bit soapy as well. Finally we have midnight lime. Lime flavored candies are probably my favorite when it comes things not consisting of chocolate, so I always save it for last. These also tasted like the standard lime flavor that you would find in a regular Skittles bag.

Overall, I think that this mixture is not bad, but I think the flavors could have been a little more adventurous, considering what Jelly Belly can do with a jelly bean. So far the only place that I have spotted these have been in the checkout lines at my local Target.

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Texture: 3/5 – There is nothing different about these texture wise than a regular bag of Skittles. If you have never sampled Skittles before, they have a hard candy shell with a chewy inside.

Smell: 3/5 - The bag smelled like a fruit mixture with a LOT of sugar added in.

Appearance: 3/5 - The colors used reminded me of a mixture of the tropical Skittles and the Skittles Riddles. Want to up the ante? Make the entire bagful black and make me guess and what I am eating – thats a little bit of evil right there.

Taste: 3/5- Overall I thought the collection was OK. Like I said above, I do not think that the flavors used were extremely imaginative, as most of them were just their standard flavors given new names, but I would buy them again… If I couldn’t find a bag of Tropical.

January 22, 2013
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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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