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Erin

Lay’s Flavor Swap – Doritos Cool Ranch

Posted in Chips by

Cool Ranch Doritos used to be MY JAM as a kid. It was pretty much the only chip that I would ever pick, and it got to the point where I ate them for so long that now as an adult, I can’t even stomach the idea of Cool Ranch chips. Same thing with bananas (though, I ALSO hate the texture, so there’s that.) When I saw that Lay’s was coming out with the flavor swap chips, I knew that I would meet Cool Ranch again, and I would of course have to try these.

Original Lay’s chips are not really my thing. I find them to be unsatisfying, greasy, and just overall bland. It is always shocking to me that people choose these as their chip of choice when you can have so many other things. I do however like the Lay’s wavy chips, those are a great dip vessel and have a substantial crunch and don’t have the grease factor. Also, can we take a moment to address the font choice on the DORITOS Cool Ranch lettering? It’s really upsetting to me.

The chip base is exactly what you would expect from a typical Lay’s potato chip. The Doritos Cool Ranch seasoning has a decent coating on all the chips in the bag, assuring that you won’t bite into a bland one. These taste exactly how you would expect, minus the corn chip base. The flavor packs the same tang as Cool Ranch Doritos – buttermilk taste mixed with various herbs and spices. Over all I thought these were a decent execution of the flavor swap idea. I think I would have liked these even more if the flavoring was on the Wavy version of the chip, giving it the more hardy crunch that I am used to with a Dorito. On the plus side, at least eating these won’t destroy the corners of your mouth. Overall, if I ever get the hankering for a bag of Cool Ranch chips, I would definitely reach for the Doritos over this iteration. Fun idea, but I think the original is better.

Found at Target
August 23, 2021
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Simply Chex – Strawberry Yogurt

Posted in Snack Mix by

There are some snacks that I see on the shelf that I pass up because they don’t initially grab me. Strawberry yogurt Chex was definitely one of those items, however the other day when I was scanning the chip aisle for something to snack on, these called out to me. Some people lean towards sweet flavors, some lean toward salty, but I personally take up every lane and will eat both (and bonus points for something that is sweet AND salty!)

I poured myself a small bowl and immediately noticed that every piece of cereal in the bag is covered with a fine coating of flavor. This flavoring is sweet with a tangy strawberry undertone with the actual yogurt covered Chex carrying most of the strawberry flavoring on it’s shoulders. I liked the flavoring of the coating, however I feel that the cereal choice for the bulk of this snack is completely off base. Using corn Chex completely steamrolls all of the tasty flavors in this bag. If you have ever had corn Chex, you know that the flavoring is quite prominent. The delicate sweet strawberry coating is quickly lost in the corn flavoring. Simply put, this has WAY TOO MANY corn Chex in it. I would have been completely cool if they used all rice Chex as I feel this is a little more forgiving flavor to deliver a different flavor on.

Secondly, despite the picture on the bag, the amount of yogurt Chex is pretty low, and truthfully the best part of the bag. The rest of the plain Chex are really just filler and I found myself actively looking for the yogurt ones. I would be more apt to buy this again if it was just a bag of the yogurt covered Chex, and nothing else. Heck, I would even pay more just to have those. The yogurt is creamy and sweet and compliments the strawberry flavor nicely. Overall, I think this snack was pretty middle of the road. I definitely do not see myself buying this again due to the abundance of corn Chex, but the flavor profile in general is pretty good. Worth a try but not worth a second buy.

Found at Walmart Neighborhood Market
August 5, 2021
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Calbee Grill-A-Corn Barbecue – Import

Posted in Chips by

I must admit that I am very jealous of the snack foods that other countries get. Calbee pretty much has a golden ticket to my heart as I don’t think I have ever had something that they have made that I have disliked. Truth be told, I was on a mission at 99 Ranch to buy a bag of Orion Turtle Chips (Corn Soup Flavored). I LOVE sweet corn flavored things. A close second to these are the Pretz Sweet Corn Sticks. Unfortunately not only did I strike out with the Turtle Chips, but they were also out of the Pretz. DANG IT. I resorted to what any reasonable person would do in my situation, I bought pretty much every corn flavored snack I could find down the chip aisle. (so be prepared for those reviews coming up in the next couple weeks)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I grabbed these for an afternoon snack. The picture on the outside looked like roasted corn, but the very small English label on the back read barbecue, so my brain instantly snapped to Americanized BBQ chips, which I was kind of bummed about because those are definitely not my chip of choice. I use a small ramekin to take photos of what the food looks like, and then I will eat that as the serving and save the rest for later. They have the exact same look (sans cheese) and texture as Cheetos. I absolutely love Cheetos – so I knew I was going to be into the texture of these. I popped one in my mouth and was very surprised by the flavor. I was fully expecting them to have a barbecue flavor, but I was met with a slightly sweet, perfectly salted, lightly flavored corn chip.

I was instantly hooked. Turtle Chip who? Just kidding, those still have my heart, but these definitely gave the Turtle Chips a run for their money. I DESTROYED this bag of chips in record time, these are absolutely delicious. The flavor is light but not underwhelming. You don’t get the Cheetos fingers however you do get some residuals from the flavoring, so if that is your jam, these are definitely for you. I looked up the ingredients and they are flavored with sugar, salt, spices and flavor (lol), yeast extract, soy sauce, roast meat seasoning, amongst other things to give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of flavor. I would say if you can get your hands on a bag of these, buy two, because you’ll want more. Next time I hit 99 Ranch, I am definitely going to buy these again.

Found at 99 Ranch Market
August 1, 2021
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Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites – Peanut Butter & Chocolate

Posted in Confectionaries by

Pretzel nugget review part two, electric bugaloo! Muddy buddies have also released a peanut butter and chocolate version along side the cookies and cream. I enjoyed these while playing copious amounts of video games, which I am normally doing when I am sampling snacks for the blog. Word to the wise, keeping your keyboard and mouse clean while enjoying tasty finger coating snacks is really snacking on hard mode. Luckily the powdery fallout on these is pretty minimal, but I would advise that you eat these in a place where you can dust yourself off if you plan to eat more than a couple. I might have consumed the whole bag in two days.

Much like the cookies and cream version of this snack, they use the chocolate and peanut butter as a delivery method for the powdered sugar. I would akin this more to the classic puppy chow (sans the Chex) The flavor of the pretzel and the peanut butter blend together with the chocolate, giving this snack a sweet buttery taste. Much like the cookies and cream counterpart, I really wish that the pretzel interior was a little more salty giving it a nice sweet and salty contrast.

I think that the chocolate flavor is more present in these than the cookies and cream version. Truthfully though, if you had presented both of these to me without telling me that they were different, I would say that the differences between the two are pretty marginal. I wish that the peanut butter flavor was stronger as well as the chocolate. Maybe they could have opted to coat the pretzel in peanut butter and use a sweet chocolate powder on the outside instead of the powdered sugar. Of the two, I prefer these over the cookies and cream version, however I do not think this would be something I would reach for if I was looking to buy a crunchy sweet snack.

Found at Power Mart gas station
July 31, 2021
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Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites – Cookies & Cream

Posted in Confectionaries by

Am I the only person on the planet that has never made muddy buddies? Muddy buddies/puppy chow has never been a staple in my house, but it is definitely something I have always liked – I wonder why we never made it? When I heard that these were coming out, I was instantly excited because I love pretzels. I LOVE PRETZELS. Hands down my favorite snack food ever made. Pretzel sticks, pretzel rods, big chonky hard pretzels, soft pretzels, pretzel bagels, just give me all the pretzels.

Despite having the size on the outside of the bag, I am not sure what I was expecting when I opened it. A sea of tiny nuggets staring back at me. They are using the chocolate as the adhesive for the “cream” part which is essentially powdered sugar, which one would expect with a muddy buddy. I did not really get cookies and cream vibes from the overall flavor of these, more like a sweet pretzel. I was hoping for a little more saltiness from the pretzel inside, but that was pretty lacking. I wish that the outside had some sort of chocolate crumbles which I think would have added to the chocolate flavor as well as given it a nice texture. Overall these were good, but I didn’t really feel like they were cookies and cream flavored. Definitely pour a little in a bowl, because if you eat them straight out of the bag, you will eat the entire bag because these lil nugs are so small and easy to pop into your mouth, especially if you are doing something like playing a video game. I would not buy these again, only because I can think of other things that I would like more, not because these are bad.

Found at Power Mart gas station
July 30, 2021
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Kellogg’s Club Cracker Crisps – Sea Salt

Posted in Snack Crackers by

Do you enjoy eating crackers with meat or cheese (or both) or other toppings? I am totally not that person. When I was a kid, we only had one kind of Lunchables, which had the two different crackers, ham and turkey, two cheeses, and an Andes mint> I always ate each item separately (except the ham, no thank you) and have retained this habit into my adulthood. I think part of it stems from my texture hangups with food, but I frequently like to eat things in an order. All of A then all of B, very rarely do I eat A and B back and forth. Alright, enough about my weird food hang ups and let’s talk about the Kellogg’s Club Crackers, artist formally known as KEEBLER Club Crackers.

Am I the only person that has a hard time just taking a few crackers from the sleeve and enjoying those, and being perfectly content to leave the other cracker friends in the sleeve for later? I am also guilty of eating entire sleeves of Ritz and other similarly packaged foods (ie. Pringles) Fun fact, the sleeve of Club Crackers has 17 crackers in it, for a total of 298 calories. Honestly, I thought it would be more, and I feel WAY less guilty about devouring a whole sleeve in one sitting. The Club Crisps bag is pretty massive but mostly filled with air to protect the product. I would like to start this review with the fact that I think these should have definitely been packaged in a box. I had a small portion of the bag with intact crisps, but much like I had suspected, 95% of the bag was Club Crisp shards. While this isn’t a problem for me, since I enjoy these straight from the bag to my mouth, if you had planned on enjoying these with anything other than yourself, you have very little to work with.

The coloring is a little lighter than the normal cracker version however you still get the buttery, flaky, salty, light flavor you are used to. The crisps remind me of something else that I have had before, but I can’t put my finger on it. These have the perfect amount of salt on them that really quenches the snack craving usually is resolved by nomming on some chips. These are similarly made to the Ritz Crisps, so if you like the texture of those, you will enjoy these. Overall, I really enjoyed these and could see myself buying them again. If they made small bags of these and sold them in a box, I think this would be a great addition to my afternoon snack rotation.

Found at Walmart
July 29, 2021
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McDonald’s – Spicy Chicken McNuggets

Posted in Fast Food by

I am just going to say it, I like McDonald’s chicken nuggets. There, I said it. They are however, not something that I would or do eat on a regular basis. I can count on one hand how many times I have had chicken nuggets in the last year, but when I do have them, yes, please. Spare me the details of how they are made, and let me live in ignorance of where my food comes from. Please and thank you! When I heard that McD’s was bringing in spicy nugs for a limited time, I was pumped because spicy nugs are my jam.

I hopped on DoorDash and ordered from the McDonald’s less than a block away because I am that person, to have fresh, spicy nugs, delivered to my pretty little hands. I must say I was a little apprehensive because the McD’s closest to me can be a little dicey. Sometimes the fries are not fresh, sometimes they straight up forget things for my order, so who knows maybe I was going to get regular ole chicken nuggets. The spicy nuggets no longer come in a box, but they did when they were first released (when I took these pictures). For some reason they are served in a bag, despite the regular ones still in a box. This is not really a big deal except like it pour my fries into the top of the box for easier consumption and nestle the sweet and sour sauce cup into them as well.

I wasn’t sure what spicy was going to mean to McDonald’s. Obviously they want something with a kick, but it still has to appeal to the masses so it can’t be over the top, and sure enough I was right. The spice blend into the crunchy exterior is a good blend of a classic nugget with a little bit of heat. Personally I could go for more (think Wendy’s spicy nuggets!) but I enjoyed these. I think the addition of the sweet and sour sauce really was a good overall mix together. I hope that these eventually become a menu staple item for them as I think it would become my go-to order item.

Found at McDonald’s (duh) – This review is from the back of the review freezer and these were originally consumed months ago.
July 28, 2021
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Cheetos Mac’N Cheese – Bold & Cheesy

Posted in Meals by

If you have been following me for a little while, I have mentioned my insufferable lactose intolerance. Most people can still eat things like Cheetos, Cheez-Its, Goldfish, etc. but me? NOPE. All of that makes me ill, but I still will torture myself when I really want to. When I saw that Cheetos came out with Mac N’ Cheese, I knew that I HAD to try it. I absolutely love Cheetos. They are the perfect amount of salty and cheesy, crunchy and downright tasty. I used to love Kraft macaroni and cheese, but had to give it up. It was a staple item for me as a kid as I was and have been a picky eater. Now, we pair up mac and Cheetos? I’m in.

I like that they chose to use a spiral noodle. I feel like this gives a nice surface area to adhear the Cheeto cheese mixture to. This is prepared the same way that regular mac and cheese from a box is made. Boil the noodles, drain, add the cheese and milk and butter, stir, and eat directly from the potserve. I was definitely taken aback about how NEON the sauce powder was. Like, highlighter orange, could see from space orange, I probably shouldn’t be eating this orange.

The cheese for this is day-glow orange

I don’t ever have regular milk so I made this with almond milk and vegan butter, but I don’t feel that it altered the taste of this in any way that would matter as they are both used in small amounts. Upon first bite, I didn’t get Cheetos vibe at all. I actually thought this was kind of under cheesy. Comparatively, I feel like Kraft mac is very cheesy/saucy, this just felt like a thinner coating. I also think that this could benefit greatly from a dusting of crushed Cheetos on top for texture. All in all, this is ok. Obviously the excitement is over the branding of this, but I felt it was pretty underwhelming. I think I would probably prefer a box of regular Kraft with a bunch of crushed Cheetos on top, that would be the play. Totally not worth the tummy pains after eating.

Found at Walmart
July 26, 2021
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Smuckers Uncrustables – Taco Bites

Posted in Bakery, Bread by

When I think Uncrustables, I am brought back to the days of school lunches. Uncrustables didn’t exist when I was a kid, however my mom had this handle sandwich press from Pampered Chef that would make exactly what a peanut butter and jelly Uncrustable would look like. I always thought it was rather wasteful as you had the whole edge outside part of the bread and the crust that was essentially “trash” (which I ate anyways). The idea of it was fun though, and putting food in some sort of pocket always makes it better I guess.

The idea of a savory Uncrustable left me scratching my head a little bit. While the idea isn’t terrible, I guess it never really crossed my mind as an option. I would like to start with that these are not the typical Uncrustable with a fluffy white bread exterior. I would akin the bread on these as more of the texture of the butt-end part of a loaf of bread. Slightly tougher exterior but soft on the inside. These are prepared by steaming them in the bag, which I was convinced was going to melt onto these treats, but alas it did not. However, it was so steaming hot that I can now commit crimes without fear of leaving fingerprints behind.

The insides of these look nothing like the picture on the outside of the box. I was fully expecting a nice little meat filled pouch, but the innards were pretty lacking. Boasting taco meat, cheese, salsa, and seasoning, I though that the flavor of these were pretty decent all things considered. The meat has a good spice to it, the cheese is subtle but there, and the salsa blends well with the rest of the flavors, tying the whole thing together. I personally like my tacos a bit more on the spicy side, so I think the addition of some Tapatio would have really helped these out.

Overall, I thought these were alright. I don’t think I would ever reach for them again in the freezer section, but I wouldn’t turn them down if I found some in my freezer. They make for a great little afternoon snack.

Found at Target – This is a review from a couple months ago that got buried in the back of the blog refrigerator.
July 25, 2021
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M&M’s – Fudge Brownie

Posted in Candy by

Good Afternoon! This is another one from the snack food vault – foods I tried a while ago but got put on the back burner to write a review for. I hope everyone had a great week! California is ramping up on fire season so the smoke is thick and heavy here, making for a weird hazy overcast day – really makes me wish for a nice rainy day.

I honestly think the flavor of fudge brownie was much of a departure from their normal flavor profile. Kind of like cookies and creme Oreos. When it comes to brownies, are you a middle person or an edge person? Personally, I like the crispy edge bits, but I never really met a brownie I didn’t like (unless its overcooked or has nuts in it, which I will still eat but piss and moan about the nuts).

The candies have a nice chunky size to them, similar to the size of a peanut M & M or Peanut Butter. The chocolate flavor is nice and rich, and honestly probably closer to what I would expect a chocolate candy to taste like if I hadn’t tried them before. These are definitely sweet and rich, so I was done after a handful or so. At some points the flavor teetered on tasting a little on the overcooked side, but overall I think these are a pretty solid flavor. I wouldn’t mind if they were the size of classic M&M’s and in a smaller sized bag, I would probably opt to buy them over the milk chocolate version if I am feeling in a chocolatey mood. If milk chocolate is not your thing, I would say give these a try as they edge a little closer to dark chocolate (though not all the way). I enjoyed them and would buy them again.

Found at Walmart
July 24, 2021
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