Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Clif Mojo Dipped S'mores

So somewhere along the line, it appears that Clif branched out from their original Mojo bars and introduced Mojo bars dipped in chocolate, without my even noticing. Until I got a coupon for a Clif bar and actually went looking for one.

Here we have the S’mores Dipped Mojo bar. S’mores seems to be one of the flavors I default to when picking something new, probably because I love s’mores, but only a few really remind me of the actual campfire concoction. This one is off to a good start, with a strong smell of graham upon unwrapping.

Well, it tastes like graham too! And since the graham crackers play such a huge part in a s’more, Clif gets big points for that. Now obviously this bar does contain things not usually found in s’mores, like almonds (fairly large almonds, too) and rice crisps. But, aside from the hard crunch from the nuts, it’s remarkably like the texture of a graham cracker too.

The initial impression is certainly good, but beyond that? Well, as I got further on I noticed it was kind of salty as well as sweet, reminding me of the saltiness that you would get from peanuts. Or maybe pretzels. Either one isn’t really something you’d expect from a s’more. I did check the ingredients, and sea salt is listed, but it’s one of the last on the list, so I’m not sure what that’s about....

The other s’more ingredients--the chocolate and the marshmallows--aren’t as obvious as the graham. The coating is a nice addition, but it’s not the most obvious part. I also think it could score a lot more points by including actual mini marshmallows, rather than leaving that part up to our imaginations and hoping that we think we taste marshmallows.

In all, this is your standard chewy granola bar with rice crisps and whatnot, slightly more dense than a Rice Krispies Treat. I could sort of see a whole graham/marshmallow/chocolate vibe going on here, but it’s not as obvious as I’d hoped. Still, it’s not a bad bar. In fact it’s still really enjoyable. Just not a carbon-copy s’more.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: PowerBar Triple Threat Chocolate Caramel Fusion

I’ve come to have an appreciation for least, the ones that aren’t the energy bars or 30-gram protein bars. I still haven’t re-tried those yet. Actually, the only ones I’ve eaten and actually enjoyed were the Recovery line--but I’ve seen the Triple Threat ones and been curious about them, just never felt like picking them up for some reason.

Well, that all changed drastically at some point, I’m not sure when, but the result was that I had three Triple Threat PowerBars in my pantry and I was starting to feel bad letting them just sit around. So I opened up the Chocolate Caramel Fusion bar.

Honestly, it doesn’t seem all that different from the Recovery bars. Maybe slightly smaller, but even that I can’t say for sure. The milk chocolate coating is smooth and makes this bar smell like a Hershey bar, and once you break it open you can see that those lumps in the coating are actually peanuts.

Well, it didn’t say anything about peanuts...oh, well. I guess they were going for what most other caramel/peanut/chocolate bars do, with the base layer topped off with a peanut/caramel mixture. Only they seem to be missing the caramel here.

At least on sight. I can definitely taste it, though it is rather subtle. The overall flavor is predominantly chocolate, from the coating; but it’s a little to sweet to be just chocolate, hence the caramel. Oddly enough, the peanuts don’t play a big role (and usually for me nuts are a pungent flavor). Even the bites that had them, it was sometimes hard to tell until I hit a harder crunch.

The base is chewy, with some crispy pieces. It does have a bit of a chalky afterfeel, but not badly enough to make me reach for a bottle of water. The smoothness of the chocolate coating makes it feel almost like a candy bar, if not for the slight “proteiny” chalk. Overall it’s very pleasant--not too “healthy” tasting, but not a candy bar either. I’m definitely glad I gave PowerBar a second chance!

Taste: 8.5--pretty much what it says, though I wouldn’t mind a stronger caramel.
Texture: 9--the crisps contract well with the chewy base and the peanuts add another different texture.
Eat Again? Yes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blue Bunny White Chocolate Caramel Cluster (An Ice Cream Review)

When I bought the carton of Blue Bunny White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie, I was on a bit of a white chocolate kick. Because I also bought its freezermate and sibling, White Chocolate Caramel Cluster.

Now this is a limited edition flavor, and it must have reached the end of its run, because it’s not on Blue Bunny’s website as a carton anymore. This isn’t the first time I’ve found these supposedly not-available ice creams (see Haagen-DazsSpiced Caramel Biscuit). Just from reading the description (“Chocolate/caramel/peanut candies and milk chocolate flakes in white chocolate ice cream with a caramel fudge ripple”), I wish it were a permanent grocery-store fixture.

The caramel-peanut candies dot the surface, sometimes blending in with the chopped-up flakes of chocolate, rather than being full caramel nut clusters. But barely a scoop under the surface, the caramel fudge ripple becomes apparent...and you know how I love caramel.

That’s a good thing, too, because I honestly wouldn’t know this was a caramel fudge swirl unless the description said so. It only tastes like caramel. Very good caramel, but if you’re looking for the chocolate component you’re going to be disappointed. The candies, likewise, don’t deliver the whole way. They are so pulverized that very few actually give the whole nut-cluster feel. They’re more like chocolate shavings, or finely chopped nuts, and the caramel gets lost to the ice cream when the clusters aren’t whole. The intact ones are, at most, about the size of a single peanut, and surprisingly not crunchy. Rather, they’re chewy, as if it’s mostly caramel on the inside, with a small nutty crunch. There’s not a ton of peanutty flavor, either, which I don’t really mind...but again, they made a promise and they didn’t really deliver.

The white chocolate ice cream does a better job. It really does taste like white chocolate--obviously chocolate, but sweeter than milk chocolate and creamier, too. There’s a reason I was on a white chocolate kick that day in Walmart, and this base really hit the spot. Unlike its sibling White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie, the white chocolate is in the ice cream itself, rather than as a mix-in. And you can actually taste it that way.

Despite the fact that this ice cream is lacking when compared to its description, I would totally buy it again. The caramel swirl? Love it. The candies, when they’re whole, are fun and flavorful; the little specks provide a slight milk chocolate flavor, and I can’t argue with that. And the base is a clear winner. I wish more companies would incorporate white chocolate ice creams into their flavors, but I’ve read that it’s expensive to produce. Until they pony up, and until this flavor officially runs out, I’ll be buying more. For me, this one was a success.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pop-Tarts

When I moved, I quickly decided that Kroger was my favorite store. They had interesting protein bars, the most awesome cake-themed non-premium ice cream I’ve ever had, marshmallows far superior to Jet Puffed or even Great Value (Walmart), and huge (cheap) bags of generic Lucky Charms with way more marshmallows inside. It was great.

Then I went to buy Pop-Tarts.

Well, Kroger just doesn’t have Walmart’s selection of Pop-Tarts, or even that of the Super Target for that matter. I was choosing between fruit, Chocolate Fudge, Hot Fudge Sundae, and Chocolate Chip. Since the other categories were out, and I was out of Pop-Tarts with no desire to go to another store, the Chocolate Chip won the battle.

Like the Cinnamon Roll ones, these have the same frosting disadvantage; that drizzle doesn’t look like nearly enough. Plus they’re slightly burnt on the edges. Maybe most Pop-Tarts are like that and you just don’t notice because they’re not “naked.” They do look like chocolate chip cookies though, which is a nice touch.

Don’t get me wrong, these are pretty good and they do taste like chocolate chip cookies. They’re sweet and chocolatey and chewy in the center, with crispier outsides. The frosting is sugary and reminds me of hardened chocolate buttercream, which means I really wish there was more of it! But despite its meager appearance, you can still taste it against the chocolate chips, which is impressive for those little squiggles. It gives a grit to the whole thing. The chocolate filling tastes similar to the chocolate chips (which taste almost like mini chocolate chips), but sweeter. The pastry itself isn’t too bad, and actually does remind me somewhat of a baked cookie.

To be fair, I can see how frosting these like the traditional ones would get in the way of the chocolate chips. But can I help that I’m a frosting addict? I’d say, these get a good grade for being exactly what they claim to be, chocolate chip cookies disguised as a “breakfast” food. They’re just not real high up on my list of Pop-Tart favorites. After the Cookie Dough ones, these just seem like a lame little brother. It doesn’t have to be the same for you. They’re worth trying at least once.

Pop-Tarts Rankings:
  1. Chocolate Chip

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Edy's Limited Edition Slow Churned Sunny Salted Caramel Pretzel (An Ice Cream Review)

Edy’s introduced three new limited edition Slow Churned flavors for the 2013 summer months. I’ve already tried Take the Cake with much success, and German Chocolate Cake Spectacular!, without much success. I’m guessing the third, Sunny Salted Caramel Pretzel, will fall somewhere between those two.

I’ve long loved Edy’s Slow Churned Caramel Delight, which is basically this without the pretzels. The swirl, though sometimes unevenly distributed, is thick and rich and doesn’t taste like a caramel swirl you’d expect from a light ice cream.

The only difference here is that the swirl seems, if possible, even gooier. Every scoop I took had strings of caramel running back to the container. Maybe I just hit a really loaded pocket of caramel, but I like it already!

If you think all that caramel muted out the pretzels, think again. Because they are still by far the dominant flavor. Edy’s has included tiny pretzels, just barely big enough for a crunch, but that just means they’re everywhere. The ice cream itself doesn’t even taste like vanilla because it’s infused with that salty, bready pretzel flavor. It gets to the point where you wonder if the caramel swirl it salted caramel, or if it’s just the profusion of pretzels. And they do stay relatively crunchy; I had a few that were slightly soggy, but not disgustingly so.

What can I say about the texture, it’s light so it melts fast, but then again it’s also really creamy. I’ve always been impressed with Edy’s ability to make such silky-smooth, rich ice cream with so little fat and calories. It even feels denser than Breyers’ higher-calorie Blasts!

I know I usually hate on pretzels, and I’ve never had them in ice cream before. But I thoroughly enjoyed this ice cream. There’s something about the extra-gooey caramel and the unique (to me, at least) addition of the salty pretzels that is making me crave more. That said, it doesn’t come close to Take the Cake...but what can you expect from a cake-batter-loving girl? I’d totally buy this again, and once more I wish it weren’t going away when summer does. I already keep a constant stock of Caramel Delight, and I could see myself alternating the two quite happily. It’s really a shame German Chocolate Cake didn’t turn out so well.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty! Part 2: Peanut Butter

Now that Pop-Tarts have Gone Nutty!, and I’ve tried the Frosted Chocolate Peanut Butter kind, it only seems fair that I give its Peanut Butter sibling a whirl as well. Although how the same flavor, only lacking both chocolate and frosting, can hope to come close, is beyond my comprehension. Anyway, the plain old Peanut Butter Pop-Tarts are peanut butter pastry and peanut butter filling. They don’t have frosting, but they do have sugar on top.

It might look plain on the outside, but it certainly smells like peanut butter. And I can verify that there’s plenty of filling inside. Which also smells like peanut butter. All of this, except the lack of frosting, is a good sign so far.

OK, so I thought I wasn’t really going to enjoy these that much. I mean, the frosting is the main reason I even eat Pop-Tarts in the first place, because I’m not a huge fan of the pastry part. (It’s like not liking cake but eating it for the frosting...guilty as charged.) Anyway, I was surprised. The pastry on these is a little crunchy on the outsides, but on the whole it’s actually pretty soft. The sugar granules on top are just like the ones on those yummy peanut butter cookies you get from the bakery, and in fact that’s what these Pop-Tarts taste like. Well, a bit milder than a cookie, but it still reminded me of a peanut butter cookie.

With peanut butter filling. This filling isn’t as gooey as other Pop-Tarts. Well, it is gooey, but it’s thicker and even a little sticky, like actual peanut butter. It even stuck to the roof of my mouth a little bit, which was pretty cool. It’s a funny sort of peanut butter, not salty at all but really sweet, and it also has a roasted taste...burnt, but in a good way. The whole thing is really unique.

I thought I would miss the frosting on these, but I didn’t. Just putting the sugar on top lets the filling and peanut butter pastry star in the action, creating a toastable, portable, breakfast-acceptable version of a peanut butter cookie. Not as good as the frosted ones, but close. Very close.

Pop-Tarts rankings:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Promax Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Energy Bar

One of the advantages of moving somewhere new is the chance to shop at new stores and try new things. I’d gone through all the available flavors of Promax bars in Pennsylvania, but my first trip to a Kroger here in Durham resulted in one I hadn’t yet found: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

Given my love of raw baked goods, I was pretty excited. I’ve had success in the past with cookie dough bars, ZonePerfect and Quest being my favorites, so I naturally didn’t hesitate to buy this.

After breaking the bar, it certainly does look like cookie dough inside, and that’s enough to get your mouth watering. It doesn’t smell like much other than the milk chocolate coating. It’s also really easy to break and makes a soft sucking sound, almost a foamy kind of thing. Definitely interesting.

Even knowing that, I was surprised how easy it was to bite and chew. It’s like butter, only not greasy. The thin coating offers zero resistance. It’s not even as chewy as real cookie dough, nor as gooey. It’s actually kind of dry; I’d almost call it dusty. The base mixture expands in your mouth and gets everywhere, which is cool, but it’s so dry that it’s hard to swallow. It kept getting stuck in the back of my throat even though I went through a whole bottle of water while eating this.

That said, it’s tasty enough that I really don’t mind having it stuck in my mouth. The coating gives a temporary milk chocolate taste, but then it melts away and the base takes over. And it really does taste like cookie dough! Not an exact match, of course, with a very very slight protein bite, but it’s pretty darn close and if not for the texture, I could fool myself I was eating out of a Pillsbury tube.

The only other improvement I’d suggest is the “chocolate chips.” They’re actually cocoa-flavored crisps, so they don’t give this bar the true thud of a real chocolate-chip-studded chunk of cookie dough. Cookie dough and crispy aren’t two words you’d normally combine, so I think using real chocolate (or at least something more similar) would take this bar up a notch. On the whole, though, I would definitely buy this flavor again. It’s tied with ZonePerfect for second place, just behind Quest. It’s good for one of those days where you just feel like liking the bowl.

Taste: 9--hardly any protein taste, and it really is a good approximation of cookie dough.
Texture: 7.5--on the one hand, I love how soft it is. On the other it’s a little dry and “dusty.”
Health: 6.5--you might cringe at the sugar (6 more grams than protein), but it is labeled an energy bar, and it also has a lot of vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron.
Eat Again? Maybe.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Case for Emotional Eating

**I should start by saying that my definition of “emotional eating” may be different from yours, and I get that for some people it really is an issue...but one that has been spun way out of control for the rest of the population.

I see everywhere how emotional eating is terrible, how it causes obesity and we all need to get ourselves under control or else we’re going to die of heart disease and diabetes and...well, quite frankly I’m surprised we haven’t just started saying people die of “being fat.” Because I’m sure in the future we’re currently heading towards, we will classify people as dying of “being fat.”

But that is another story and I’ll save it for later. The one I want to tackle now is emotional eating.

It’s normal.

Eating is emotional, it’s meant to be emotional, and I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is. We have an emotional connection to food. We’re meant to enjoy it. Good food brings us pleasure, and if it didn’t can you imagine how awful life would be?

What about the memories of baking cookies with Mom? Every time you eat a chocolate chip cookie that brings you a little closer to her and back to your childhood. Or having pizza parties in elementary school, eating cake at birthday parties, munching a bowl of popcorn at a slumber party.

We eat to satisfy a need, and part of that need is emotional. If you were just hungry it wouldn’t matter what you ate, but that’s not the case. You have cravings. When you’re sad maybe you want your personal comfort food. Sometimes you want something different because you’re bored with your usual. Yes, there are biological reasons for these cravings, but part of that is also driven by emotion.

Mental hunger is not the enemy. And for someone like me, who has spent almost half of my life ignoring hunger and learning to disassociate myself with the actual physical cues, who cannot recognize my body’s signals that I need food, and whose body is so messed up that it can’t even send me proper signals--it’s essential.

For me, emotional eating is much better than my alternative, emotional not-eating. For example, I am hungry and I am sad, therefore I should not eat because I am only “hungry” because I am sad. This is what happens when I try to eat “rationally” (or the one that’s incredibly popular these days--“mindfully”).

I have learned that my body is waaaay smarter than I am. It quite literally saved my life when I was at my lowest weight. If it can’t tell me to eat one way (physical hunger), it will tell me the only other way it knows how (making me think about food nonstop and eat even if I’m “not hungry”). And the very very small percentage of my brain that controls conscious thought tries to rationalize this behavior--hence, I’m eating because I’m bored, depressed, lonely, etc. But in reality I am hungry.

You do not need to feel physical hunger to be entitled to eat. You never need to justify eating.

It is not a bad thing to enjoy food simply because it tastes good, because you want it, to love it as more than just a source of fuel. In fact I think it’s much more disordered to have an emotionally devoid relationship with food. To see it as a chore, something to get over with and to be avoided. As nothing more than fuel, that could be replaced with anything else as long as it gave you the nutrition you needed. (I’m thinking of the Soylent experiment [], but also picking foods based on macronutrients only and setting aside certain times to eat, as if it’s forbidden anytime else--so yes [I feel haters coming on here], I think to a certain extent serious bodybuilders are eating-disordered or have disordered eating.) To be some robot that mechanically eats only when your stomach growls. For me, that is a recipe for disaster. I cannot have rules without turning into a dictator over my poor body.

I tried Overeaters Anonymous a couple times, and although I know they mean well I’m glad I stopped. Even though my reasons for leaving were wrong (I just did not want to recover), I don’t think it would have led me to a happy remission. I left more certain than ever that I had no self control for eating pans of cookies at night, thinking that my problem was bingeing when in fact it was restriction.

We cannot demonize food and refuse to let it have power over us. We have to accept that it does, and that it has that power by necessity, evolutionary necessity, and that by trying to manipulate our bodies otherwise is causing us to evolve in a whole new way that is making international headlines that are, in fact, demonizing food. Do you see the cycle? (And my lovely run-on sentence?)

It stops here. Control comes from letting go. So I eat emotionally, and that is fine.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

H.T. Trader's Cookie Dough & Brownies (An Ice Cream Review)

It’s always interesting to see store-brand premium ice cream alongside the mainstream cartons. Kroger has Private Selection, their premium line, and even Wegmans and Walgreens have different lines of premium and lighter options. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Harris Teeter is the same.

I have to apologize for the lack of pictures to go with this post. I uploaded them to my Picasa album with my fancy-pants new wi-fi camera, but somewhere in cyberspace they got eaten up and never made it to their destination. And I failed to check before deleting the photos from said fancy-pants camera, so alas they are gone forever. :(

Anyway, I was curious about Harris Teeter’s premium line and in a cookie dough mood, so I decided to start with H.T. Trader’s Cookie Dough & Brownies, which is vanilla and chocolate ice creams with brownies and cookie dough pieces. It basically sounds like a slightly lighter version of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked.

To start, the chocolate looks pretty light compared to many premium brands’ deeper brown. This ice cream is also not as dense or creamy as those brands, but that’s not to say it’s not creamy. Actually, it’s kind of hard to describe the texture; it does tend to come away in blocks, but those blocks are not icy at all and are fairly soft and creamy. This stuff melts pretty fast as well, especially the edges of the pint, and it does get creamier as it warms up. To be truly satisfying, though, I’d like it to be denser.

The flavor of the base ice creams is correspondingly mild. The chocolate has a hint of cocoa but otherwise doesn’t pop out at you. The vanilla is just there, and really untasteable except in the occasional odd spoonful. Which leaves the fate of this pint resting on the shoulders of the mix-ins.

I won’t complain about the amount of mix-ins, because there were enough. Not as many as the mix-in kings Ben & Jerry’s, but I wasn’t expecting the monster brownies or cookie dough pieces found in Vermont’s finest. The pieces in H.T. Trader’s are small square-ish things about the size of the eraser on the end of a pencil. Which is fine, I don’t mind, but they need to deliver on taste.

Unfortunately, that’s where it all sort of goes wrong. See, the cookie dough might be small and sufficiently gritty, but the taste is wacky. Almost like there’s too much brown sugar. And that’s saying something, because I looove brown sugar. Like, I eat it plain by the spoonful sometimes.

I wish I could say the brownies are better, but they’re only mediocre. They’re the same size as the cookie dough, and they are chewy. They’re not quite as dense as a fudgy brownie, they’re not exactly moist either, and they don’t carry a whole lot of flavor...basically the opposite of everything I love about brownies.

So, I should have bought a different pint. I haven’t actually had B&J’s Half Baked (just the Froyo version), but I’d bet anything it’s better. I’d be more than willing to spend the extra money for the non-store brand ice cream in this case. Sorry Harris Teeter, I love ya but for the ice cream you carry, not the ice cream you make.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blue Bunny Cookie Creations White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie (An Ice Cream Review)

It’s been an adventure getting a feel for all the grocery stores in here in the Triangle, since there are about five Walmarts and at least as many Krogers all about the same distance from my apartment, not to mention various Harris Teeters and Whole Foods (although I don’t go there as often, since they’re more expensive). But I eventually learned which Walmarts are well-stocked and which are not, the former category unfortunately consisting of far fewer than the latter.

By “well-stocked,” you probably know I mean ice cream, and it was at the most well-stocked Walmart that I found this gem:

Blue Bunny White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie. It’s one of their Cookie Creations line, which also features flavors like Monster Cookie. This particular one is “Macadamia cookie flavored ice cream with white chocolate chunks and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.” I love white chocolate, so this has been calling my name since the first time I saw it (at which point I already had a full freezer...I know, when has that stopped me before?).

I know I always say I’m not a huge fan of nuts in ice cream. Truth be told, it was the white chocolate and cookies that drew me to this ice cream. And I got lucky, because there are no (whole, crunchy) macadamia nuts. At least not that I could discern. But Blue Bunny certainly doesn’t short you on mix-ins, either. There are little round cookies everywhere, a little flatter than a ball of dough and bigger than a penny. The scoop goes through them really easily, so you’re not fighting to dig around them. They are so buttery and gritty and chewy and fresh, and they really do taste just like a bakery cookie, despite being submerged in a frozen dessert. They’re not frozen rock hard. These are the star of the show, as they should be in a “Cookie Creation.”

The white chocolate is another story. In fact, I thought they were the nuts until I realized they didn’t taste like nuts. They’re standard chocolate-chunk fare, only white, so they’re almost impossible to see against the base ice cream. Add that to the fact that among all the cookie flavoring, they don’t really stand out taste-wise, and Blue Bunny might as well have saved some money (and saved us some calories) and left out the white chocolate. You can get the white chocolate experience if you know you’ve got it in your spoonful and you purposefully suck on it after eating the rest of the scoop...but I don’t feel that it’s significant enough to this flavor to deserve first spot in the title. It’s deceiving.

But the base ice cream makes up for all that by tasting just like the cookies, that is to say, it’s delicious. Sweet and buttery, and sufficiently creamy for a non-super-premium ice cream that’s not $4 per pint. I personally loved it. Some cookie-flavored ice creams come off as weird, but this is spot-on. I’d buy it again in a heartbeat.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Clemmy's Sugar Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (An Ice Cream Review)

I’ve been eyeing up the Clemmy’s ice cream at Harris Teeter for a while now. How could I resist something peanut buttery? Plus I’d never heard of Clemmy’s before. Which is the reason that I had no idea that their ice cream is sugar free.

There’s no description on the pint, but my initial guess for this flavor was peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chips. So I was surprised to open it up and find white ice cream with chocolate chips.

So I eventually figured out partway through the pint that the peanut butter part is a swirl. But even before I found that, there was a very faint peanut butter flavor to what I can only assume is vanilla ice cream. I can’t say I tasted vanilla. So the base shall remain a mystery, whether that adds to the intrigue or is just plain annoying is up to you.

The chocolate chips are not hard; they’re sort of crunchy, like a cross between chocolate chip and Oreo. They’re not unlike the ones Talenti uses in Caramel Cookie Crunch. And there are a ton of them. So they come across a lot stronger than the peanut butter. For me, that’s a bit disappointing, but for those who are easily overwhelmed by peanut butter, this might be the break you’re waiting for.

Now, I did find the peanut butter swirl. It’s fairly thin in most places (where it is, anyway) and, consequently, hard to describe beyond mild and, well, slightly peanut buttery. But I did get a nice chunk of almost all peanut butter near the end, and I was surprised. It’s not that far off from a premium peanut butter swirl. They could really ramp up this flavor if they showed off the swirl a bit more. It’s not quite as epic or gritty as Ben & Jerry’s, but it’s awesome in its own right. Now there just needs to be more of it!

In the long run, I probably won’t buy this again. But it was interesting. None of it tasted sugar free, which is a testament to the company’s abilities. It’s decent, give it a try; just don’t expect to be peanut-buttered out of your socks.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Favorite Pizza + Chex Mix

I’ve been feeling pretty good the past few days. Yesterday we had a picnic at work, which meant time off from work playing games and eating lots instead! I had a ton of dessert, including some awesome brownies and a huge piece of caramel toffee cheesecake. I brought my own dessert too...white chocolate Halloween Chex mix!

It’s basically like any white chocolate Chex mix but with candy corn instead of peanuts. And I used candy corn M&Ms instead of normal ones, since I’d bought them at Kroger and they were a little too weird to eat plain.

Anyway, I made enough to fill 2 9x13 pans and took most of that back to work after the picnic. And sitting alone in my cube with a bunch of Chex mix...well I ate half of one container! Which is a lot of chocolate and candy corn and the upshot was that I ate well past my minimum just from lunch and directly afterward. And yes, I got a rather un-fun stomachache. And so for the first time ever I really didn’t eat very much right before bed. After dinner all I ate was a bit of popcorn and a Quest bar. I was weird but kind of cool (minus the nausea) because I can be normal...someday.

I also got to try a free small pizza from Hungry Howie’s, and let me just say...this is where I’m getting all my pizza from now on. Hungry Howie’s is “the home of the flavored crust,” and they have six options. I went with garlic herb...OH MY GOD it was amazing!! I didn’t know which part to save for last because the crust was just WOW. Sure the Domino’s is closer, but I don’t care, this is totally worth it.

Other than that, nothing much is new with me. Just more of the same, watching TV and drawing and by sheer luck not yet outgrowing this pair of shorts (I’m sure that’s just around the corner though). In fact the funniest thing was that after I felt so bloated and huge last night, I looked more proportional this morning. These things are so weird. Like I’ll wake up and be like, “Wow, I look normal-sized,” and then by the time I get to work I look pregnant, and then again after lunch, and then my thighs feel bigger throughout the day. No wonder it’s such a relief to park myself in front of the TV!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rickland Orchards Toasted Coconut Greek Yogurt Bar

Greek yogurt is all the rage right now. Whether it’s frozen or in a tub or coating a granola bar, if it’s Greek, it’s gotta be good for you right?

Rickland Orchards has joined the Greek craze with its Greek yogurt bars, and here we have Toasted Coconut. I risked life and limb eating this bar. See, I usually don’t read the ingredients list very closely (i.e., beyond the first two or three ingredients), and I don’t know what made me do so with this one, but I noticed that pineapple was on the list. I developed a rather uncomfortable pineapple intolerance about a year ago, which was incredibly sad because I absolutely adore pineapple. Just not what it does to my stomach. Anyway, I thought I would be OK here because usually people with pineapple intolerances only have issues with the fresh stuff...hmm, not the case. Oh, the things I go through for this blog...

But all that didn’t happen until much later after I finished eating, so luckily my review wasn’t tainted by physical effects. And I was able to enjoy this bar, because it really was tasty.

First off, this thing smells soooo good. Like perfume or scented hand soap or skin lotion...fruity and sweet and yogurty! Not tangy like I associate with Greek yogurt. It’s also emitting coconut scent-waves with a fury that can only be caused by a coconut bar containing almonds against its will.

Haha, just kidding. I’m sure the coconut and almonds get along just fine. They do in taste, anyway. Occasionally you’ll get a bite containing a big almond, and then there’s obviously a lot of almond taste. But the coconut is always there to take over and ultimately it’s the lasting impression you get from this bar. I did taste some pineapple, but I doubt I’d be able to pick it out if I hadn’t know it was there beforehand.

The coconut is also there in the texture--it’s like eating a Mounds, with the shredded coconut outlasting just about everything else--even the oats/granola mixture, which is usually the last to get chewed up. I will say that after all the flavor fades and you’re just chewing those coconut strands and oats, it does get a bit dull. I’ve also found it happens with the original Clif bars. But overall, other than the coconut and the hard thud of the almonds, this is basically a chewy granola bar.

I probably don’t need to tell you how much I loved the yogurt coating. In fact they could just turn the whole bar into a thick slab of yogurt coating and I’d be thrilled. It’s sweet and vanilla-y and melts in your mouth and it’s just...perfect. I have yet to run across a yogurt coating I don’t like, Greek included!

I’d love to try some of Rickland’s other flavors; I don’t think I’ll go back to this one, just because of the pineapple. But definitely give it a try, because it was enjoyable until the after effects kicked in. I can totally understand this Greek craze when it’s coating my granola bars!