Kellogg’s Tiger Paws – Jumbo Snax

Posted in Cereal by

Good Afternoon everyone! I hope everyone has enjoyed the last weekend of August. How is that even possible?! It was March and now its August – the time in between? Gone.

Somewhat recently Kellogg’s released a line of Jumbo Snax, touted as a way to snack on cereal in fun big boy way. The debut flavors (I have no idea if they will release others) are Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, and Tiger Paws. One of these things is not like the other though… Tiger Paws are not an existing cereal, so clearly I opted to buy that flavor since I definitely have poured all of the other cereals into my mouth straight from the box.

These definitely remind me of the Cheetos Paws upon first glance. The pouch feels empty in your hands until you open it and actually find that its filled with little paws. They are about the size of a quarter and you get about two dozen to a pouch.

Truth be told, I have been trying to write this review for about two weeks now, but could not come up with anything exciting about these. All in all, these are fine. They are crunchy and sweet, what you would expect from a solid form of Frosted Flakes. At 50 calories for an entire pouch, these are a great little sweet pick me up for a sweet tooth like me without completely breaking the calorie bank. Like the Cheetos Paws (and puffs) I like to suck the air out of them and then eat them like a weirdo.

All in all, I would consider buying these again. I find the packaging a little frivolous since I could buy a box of cereal for the same price and pour it into reusable containers. But for a quick sweet snack on the go, these would do the job, and I guess if you were feeling really wild, you could pour a tiny amount of milk into these if you were craving a bowl of cereal but had none on hand. Another great application would probably be on ice cream!

Definitely not going to try that tonight… 😉

Found at Winco

August 30, 2020
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St. Albans Aged Cows’ Milk Cheese

St. Albans comes in a tiny clay crock, which is super cute and very convenient for the would-be fonduer. It even suggests popping this in the oven for a molten, melty treat. I found these little pucks stacked up in a corner of the cheese cold case in Trader Joe’s. Cheese is a luxury purchase for me, I usually grab slices, singles or bags of shreds(I know, shame, shame), a wedge or specialty cheese I usually save to buy to enjoy with friends. If it isn’t obvious, I didn’t grow up eating a lot of cheese. At least, not anything that didn’t in some form of the color yellow, and have the words American in it. On the flip side, this is an aged cows’ milk cheese with a nicely designed label. Welcome to adulthood, I guess.

The smell from the wrapped package is unctuous and deep. Foot-like, but foot-lite, it’s a stinky one, but not anything near levels of stink that might drive a novice cheese aficionado away. For it’s price, $3.99, it’s a definite steal. Combining the value of the crock and a 80 calorie, 3 serving puck of cheese, this is fondue for one. Midsummer? Yeah. I did it, and you can too. It’s worth it.

Out of the oven(400F for 20 minutes, left out on the counter to come to room temp when brought home before heating), this wasn’t molten hot, but gooey, and delicious. I took a bit of video where I tested how much it would stretch but I won’t be posting it because it looks kinda… gross. It smelled mild, and tasted nutty. Nutty, nutty, nutty. Overall, I would describe it as light, mild, delicious and inoffensive. It reformed quickly as I ate dinner, but it’s signature taste, the nutty, milky vibe, that felt fresh and vibrant the whole way through.

Personally, I made dinner in mind with this. Sliced and roasted zucchini and gold potato, with a panko-breaded chicken katsu from a previous dinner reheated in the oven. I will say, that because of its quick return to low viscosity, its thickness didn’t perform as well as I would’ve liked with the zucchini, which fell apart when I tried to dunk anything in about five minutes out.

This was a fun treat, and on some nights I’m thinking of going light and lean, I would definitely try some breaded chicken breast and potatoes with it again.

Found at Trader Joe’s.

August 29, 2020
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Flying Embers Hard Kombucha Pineapple Chili

If you’re like me, it took you years to get into kombucha. It’s vinegary, sour-smelling off-putting taste probably hit your nose and distracted you from what could maybe have been an acquired, one-of-a-kind adventure. I eventually did get into drinking it, after an upset stomach hit and being told the probiotics in kombucha could help me right my wrongs and fix me right up. A modern magic elixir. Not that I believe in such things.

I sometimes stroll through my local Trader Joe’s in hopes of finding a new drink, although I don’t drink very many things with calories, as it were, I am partial to certain flavors of alcohol. In recent times, some products, such as the tiny bottled hard kombucha under the brand Kyla have been harder to find and in some cases have straight up disappeared from store shelves. So when I saw THIS on the shelf I knew it was a matter of having to try it, and having to try it meant having to review it. I think. I did it anyway.

Right off the bat, the can advertises this to have nothing added, be gluten free, non-gmo, vegan, keto, organic and has live probiotics. Like most hard kombuchas, this is 6.8% ABV, which is impressive.

It pours opaque, but not dark. The juice color is a mix of their root blend: ginger, turmeric, pineapple and chili. Off the bat, it’s missing kombucha’s vinegary taste profile(or I’ve gotten so used to it I can’t taste it anymore). It has a nice mouthfeel and residual tingle and mouthburn. Never feeling alcoholic, this kombucha goes down easy, and for a fan of say, cayennade by GTs or other brands, this is a twist on that with a bit of sweetness.

Not to say this is sweet. To try and describe it, it’s as if you took pineapple juice and sucked the sugar out. It’s got phantom sugar. Beyond that, it’s spicy. And this has a fun, spicy, sparkling juice flavor that builds mid-glass and continues until the end.

For 130 calories, this is a must-buy. It checks the boxes of a good beverage meeting the needs of several different niches. Remember, this is gluten free, non-gmo, vegan, keto, organic and has live probiotics. I’d buy this again(and did cop an additional four pack after my initial two taste test) but initially, my thoughts said, “joke’s on you, I don’t have to wait, because I bought two.”

Oh, and a word to the wise? This is easy drinking, but it does hit hard. Drink responsibly.

Found at Trader Joe’s.

August 26, 2020
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Trader Joe’s Hatch Chile Cheddar Seasoned Popcorn

For the most part, I don’t enjoy flavored popcorns. Aside from kettle corn(and most I dislike, even at that) I find the flavors to be mockeries of what they claim to be. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t bemoan their existence, I don’t argue their right to be. They’re just not right for me, my palate and my sensibilities. I’m just not into them.

So why, for the life of me, did I pick up Trader Joe’s Hatch Chile Cheddar Seasoned Porcorn? Chile. Spice. Hot. I wanted hotcorn. Did I get it? Not… not exactly? I got, something. Something that trends on the side of cheesy and less on the side of heat, but kinda gets there.

For my palate, this isn’t spicy. This isn’t even the level of a creeping spice. Eating more and more handfuls of these won’t do anything more to bring you intensity and heat. You’ll maybe get thirsty, and maybe feel like your mouth is coated in mild chile dust. …like I did. The seasoning mixture is made up of “hatch chile cheddar seasoning” which is a mix of a cheddar blend and whey powder, buttermilk and salt, more “spices”, additional whey, sea salt, green bell pepper powder, hatch chile pepper powder, onion powder and garlic. See what I mean? There’s barely any heat because they literally skimped on it. That green bell taste is there to add “pepper” flavor and a touch of bitterness.

This popcorn isn’t Wise or Smartfood White Cheddar(the absolute standard), but it is somewhat cheesy. It isn’t flagrantly hot. But it is popcorn, and that’s something I’ll give it points for. Knowing TJs, they probably put some of their experience finding delicious popping kernels into this to ensure they it did at least meet that minimum standard.

Huh, after eating this to sample it and eating some when I opened the bag and then munching on it to review, the corner of my lip is a bit irritated.

I’ll take it.

Found at Trader Joe’s.

August 22, 2020
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Krispy Kreme Mini Crullers – Limited Time – Lemon

Posted in Bakery, Confectionaries by

Summer time and the livin’s easy – especially when you work from home like I have been for the last year. Donuts hands down are one of my favorite baked goods. Do you have a go-to flavor? Mine is definitely maple anything despite the impending heartburn that it always gives me. Sometimes pleasure is totally worth the pain… and the Tums.

I grew up on Winchell’s donuts and a tiny little shop near my house owned by the sweetest Asian couple. Later when I moved north, the mall I started working at had a small donut counter in the food court and a bag of donut holes became my regular splurge. Down the street from my current digs, there is a 24 hour shop that makes some super tasty pink sprinkled cake donuts, best enjoyed at 2 am, tucked into a booth watching the tweakers outside. Okay, so I said I liked maple, but truthfully, I don’t know if I have met a donut I didn’t like. Wait I take that back, plain cake donuts. Those can stay home.

Krispy Kreme never really entered my life until I was an adult. My first experience was when I was working in another town, filling in as the store manager and I hit the drive thru on my way home, treating myself to a box of hot and fresh golden glazed rings. I finally understood the hype. Warm, airy dough, coated in the perfect amount of translucent glaze. It wasn’t until I moved to Sacramento that I had regular access to Krispy Kreme.

I saw these on the shelf along with a few other new Krispy Kreme offerings, although Krispy Kreme Mini Crullers are not new. Typically you will find them in bags with a window in them tempting you with seasonal/limited time flavors such as birthday cake, pumpkin spice, ginger bread, and strawberry to name a few. The research that I have done online for these particular boxed donuts shows that they contain bags inside that hold 2 donuts each, though my box was one big bag of a whole bunch of friends jammed together – maybe this has since changed since I picked these up?

When I think crueller, I think of the super airy, light, barely there donut that completely collapses the moment you take a bite of it, but the Krispy Kreme version is hardly that. If you have had their sour cream donuts, these are much more akin to that than their French counterparts. I found these particular donuts to be SO moist that I wished I had a glass of milk to wash it down. The lemon flavoring did not feel overly artificial to me, though the glaze and donut are very sweet. One of these is plenty for me when it comes to sweets, which I feel like says a lot since I am a eat-sugar-straight-from-the-jar sweets person. Am I going soft in my old age? Are my teeth subconsciously speaking to me saying “Erin, we literally have no more room left for fillings, please, stop.” Using the universal measurement unit of a Bagel Bite, these are about the size of one of those.

With no way to seal the bag inside – if you happen to get the version I did, I strongly advise that you put them in a ziplock or something of the sort as rolling the bag up like a bag of chips will not due. While not terrible, these are not best stale. These took me a while to eat, because honestly, despite my love of donuts, they aren’t an every day thing for me. If you like moist cake donuts, these are something you would probably enjoy. The lemon are a limited edition so if you are interested in trying them, hit the store right now to get your paws on them. Oh and grab yourself some milk too.. or milk substitute, you’ll need it.

Found at Walmart

August 20, 2020
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Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats with Milk Chocolate M&Ms Minis

Certain foods have stuck with me my whole life. Coke, Chipotle, a fondness for the flavor combos of Chewy bars but not the grittiness of actually eating them, and lovingly staring at Rice Krispies Treats bars. Today on my way home, I picked one up, imagined its marshmallow and crisped rice flavor and smiled. It was chock, and I mean chock— FULL of mini M&Ms.

When I was growing up, my high school served Domino’s Pizza in the cafeteria, had soda machines in every hallway on the main campus and snack machines mostly near the lunchroom. I was too poor to eat a slice and afford a drink everyday. I had a ten dollar budget I stretched five days. I regularly ate a cardboard boat of seasoned fries fresh from thaw into the deep fryer and a Sprite. Two bucks a day, five days, covered.

On days where lunches and snacks were shared, two things reigned supreme: peanut M&Ms and RICE. KRISPY. TREATS. As evidenced by my attraction to Cookies and Creme Twix’s electric blue wrapper, Rice Krispies Treats have always held my eye. The snack-size, to-go single one shot versions were always in the lunchboxes of my better-off friends, but every once in a while the line for fries was too long, or I got there too late. So I either chose a Jumbo Honeybun or you guessed it, a Rice Krispies Treat.

I liked them as much then as I do now. Pillowy, crunchy puffed rice. Gooey, sweet marshmallow sugar strings as you pull them apart; because who eats these whole? And now, in adulthood, the crunchy, chocolatey addition of tiny, perfect little M&Ms. They’re the perfect bite, the perfect yield, the perfect chew, the perfect bend and pull and shareable size.

They’re sweet and perfect. The best, best, best version of a marshmallow square you, or your friends, or your mom, or grandma tried to make for you. They don’t use off-brand cereal, they aren’t stale and flat-tasting like other brands. They aren’t too hard and don’t feel like the edges are razor sharp and ready to slice your tongue in two.

It’s commercial marshmallow: corn syrupy, vegetable oil and natural and artificial flavor, toasted rice cereal and mini candy-coated chocolate morsels. If you like that description? Crave that?

Buy one of these.

Found at Wawa.

August 19, 2020
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Trader Joe’s Sparkling Black Tea with Peach Juice Beverage

What a beautiful, stylish box.

What a beautiful, stylish can.

This design transcends a lot of what Trader Joe’s has to offer, the usual old-timey drawing is in the rendering of the peaches and leaves, leaving the matte black box to stand on its own. The font, the raised, metallic rose gold letters, the top and bottom. The can itself is a creamy off-white that features the same design, one so strong it can both black AND white.

It speaks to me, and sparkling water beverages do too.

The can describes this as “Sip. ‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!’ Repeat.” I’m inclined to agree. These have a snappy, crisp bubble, thanks to the method of first making black tea, sweetening that with peach juice and carbonating it. The only other additives are citric acid to acidify and ascorbic acid to hold color.

It’s simple, delightful, subtle. 15 calories, 3g of carbs with 2g in sugar, none added. This is as natural as a carbonated tea can be. Sweet tea lovers, beware though, this is not a carbonated sweet tea with peach juice, this is a carbonated black tea sweetened with peach juice. Big difference. A very beautiful difference. Beware.

Are you a sparkling water drinker? Like me? Somebody who likes the joy of bubbled water but has long since moved past LaCroix? Try this. For me, somebody that doesn’t actually drink full sugar/added sugar beverages, this is actually pretty sweet. I should know. I love these so much I’ve bought 4 5 cases in two weeks, and can kill a box in a thirsty whirlwind of a night. At this rate, I might need a CO2 hookup in the house, because dude, I might need to start carbonating tea. …I might need to start carbonating like, everything.

Admittedly, this can be pricey if you’re addicted, and at a dollar a can($3.99 per pack of four), a bougie summertime treat. I would buy these on recommendation from a Trader Joe’s Crew Member, and I can assure you, yeah, kinda did, but left to my own devices? On a budget? In current year? Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah, I’d still buy these.

Get them home, chill th— Okay, do what I do. Get them home, rip open the box, grab all four(big hands, I’m a big dude), throw them in the ice in the freezer, take a shower. If you’re growing mint, gently pluck some. Or not. I don’t control how you treat your mint, and it genuinely grows like a weed so punish it if you’re feeling it. That aside, a glass of backyard sweet tea might be in your future.

Enjoy. Responsibly.

Found at Trader Joe’s.

For some fun, try this: a 3:1 ratio of tea to spiced rum.

  • 2 mint leaves
  • 1 8.75oz can of Trader Joe’s Sparkling Black Tea with Peach Juice
  • 3oz of spiced rum
  • ice
  • a sprig of mint or twist of orange peel to garnish

Start with a large glass or a big Ball jar. If you’re me, you probably have a pint Ball jar hanging around. Muddle your mint, add your ice. Pour your tea into your glass. Float some rum on that and call it an afternoon.

For me, this would be sweet enough on its own, but feel free to add a dash of simple syrup if needed. Skip that and serve it up with a hit of lemonade if you need a little more of a diffusion.

August 15, 2020
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Thomas Mini Croissants – Plain

Posted in Bread by

Remember in school when they taught you about the food pyramid? Is that a thing that they still teach? Well I am here to tell you that they got that thing all wrong. The best food group on the pyramid is BREAD. Hands down. Can’t convince me otherwise, sorry.

Every time my pants fit a little tight, or a shirt is a little snug, I tell myself I should probably cut out the bread. And then I pick up a loaf of garlic bread for dinner, or I grab a bag of everything bagels for breakfasts, tummy ache? let’s have a slice of sourdough toast. I think I would have a better chance of giving up sugar vs bread and I am okay with that.

When I saw these tucked into the shelf in the bread aisle, I was excited. I LOVE a croissant. I also love mini food – I think it fools your brain into thinking that you’re not completely throwing self control to the wind and indulging in a tiny bite. Despite that tiny bit turning into like four of these.

The appearance… is not great. Approximately 20 mini croissants jammed into a bag then stuffed onto a store shelf doesn’t do much to preserve the delicate appearance of a yummy flaky croissant. To be fair, I think the problem originates with the texture of the croissant itself. When I think of this delicious pastry, I think of the finest thin layers of flaky buttery goodness that de-materialize the moment you take your first bite, getting more all over yourself than in your mouth. These? These are just bread with a sourdough base at a croissant costume party. That light and airy flaky texture I was looking for? Nope. Oops! All bread.

Don’t get me wrong, the flavor is good. These would be fine warmed up as a side for dinner, but unfortunately they are not very remarkable. Want to take it to the next level Thomas’? Hit me with that everything bagel mini croissant and I will literally use one of those money guns in your general direction. I might buy these again, just to see if maybe I got a batch that might have been tucked in a little too tight.

Found at Walmart

August 14, 2020
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Kit Kat – Limited Edition – Apple Pie

Posted in Cereal by

I’ve got (another) confession to make (click here to listen to the Foo Fighters song that is now stuck in your head.) – I don’t like apple pie. Apparently that probably makes me unAmerican, but I just don’t. In theory, I should like apple pie. I like apple (sauce and juice), I like cinnamon, and I like a good flaky crust, and even being lactose intolerant I like a big heaping scoop of ice cream on a piece of pie, but I just cannot get into it.

As Nick said in his Trader Joe’s Cranberry & White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie review white chocolate really isn’t my jam. I feel like this review is just me telling you what I don’t like. I grabbed this with the pure intention of taking one bite and tossing the whole thing in the garbage. I feel like white chocolate has such a distinct sweet taste that is so overpowering in every instance its used. Don’t get me wrong, I REALLY like sweet, but unless its combined with peanut butter in a Reese’s ghost or pumpkin? I will pass.

This Kit Kat really surprised me. The balance of the sweetness from the white chocolate, with the crisp apple taste, and the warm cinnamon flavor actually really complimented each other. The apple flavor was subtle but very much present, the wafer part offered the buttery flaky flavor you would expect in a pie, and the cinnamon and white chocolate offer the right amount of spice and sweetness to tie it all together. Overall I was quite impressed. I saw these at the checkout lanes the other day when I went to the store to grab a few things and contemplated buying another one, but peanut M & M’s made the cut.

Found at Walmart

August 13, 2020
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Fudge Stripes Cookies Strawberry Shortcake

Okay, so. I really love Fudge Stripe Cookies. They’re my mid-year cookie of choice when I finally get another pang for Girl Scout Thin Mints and it isn’t knee-deep in freezing February anymore. I like both cold, freezing cold, straight out of the freezer. And so, when I picked these up, I knew I’d be eating them cold too. Mostly. To be fair, for review purposes, I did eat these straight from the container at room temperature.

And these are pretty great. The cookie is crispity, crunchity shortbread coated with the eponymous fudge stripes, only now, instead of chocolately brown, they’re pastel pink. And in some places, pale pastel pink to almost white. There’s an odd disarray and discoloration of the fudge stripes on some of these. Any three can be varying shades of pink, and I’m not sure if that’s on purpose.

The chocolate fudge is also now more like a snack cake icing, though without the witchery involved in making it non-pliable even at warm temperatures. My room runs hotter than most because I get cold a bit easily and running lights for photography amplifies that. The pink icing was melty out of the packaging at 76F.

The inclusion of ingredients that include both palm oil and whey give this an odd, milky, creaminess at times that my tongue fights against. It’s a hazard of eating modern sweets. Palm oil is everywhere and in everything, and sometimes, it hits my stomach wrong. Other than the new, artificial taste of the icing, do they taste like strawberry shortcake? Yes… and no. The cookie is shortcake, no contest, but the icing stripes and the coated back are almost there. There’s a taste to it that yes, is creamy, and yes, is strawberry, but it misses that unctuous, drippy, jammy quality of well, jam.

But it’s a mass produced cookie from Keebler. Am I mad? No. Will I finish the pack? Yes, absolutely, of course. Fresh out of the freezer alongside an ounce of limeade mixed with some sparkling water on ice. It’s summer, and this, this is a light, sweet, delicious, beautiful summer cookie.

And so, to us, a toast. Let’s happily destroy our beach bods together, yeah? Cheers.

Found at Publix Super Market.

August 12, 2020
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