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Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Price: $1.99
According to the package… Vegan/tangerine, pink grapefruit, key lime, lemon

If you’ve never been to a Trader Joe’s before, you need to know one thing: they’re constantly bringing in new products. According to their website, they try to bring in at least 10 new items a week. (Unfortunately, this also means they frequently stop carrying items, too, in order to make room for all their new products. I still miss their potatoes au gratin, and those were discontinued MONTHS ago.) These citrus gumdrops are one of their newer products.

The gumdrops come in four flavors – key lime, tangerine, pink grapefruit, and lemon. The key lime and grapefruit flavors were the two that convinced me to buy the package.

Lemon – the lemon gumdrops are, unsurprisingly, the bright yellow ones. They’re pretty good, except they do have that artificial lemon flavor that’s not unlike the scent of Lemon Pledge. It isn’t bad, by any means, but it’s also my least favorite of the four flavors. That doesn’t mean I didn’t eat them, though.

Key Lime – the white gumdrops are the key lime flavor. I’m a sucker for key lime pie, and that’s exactly what the gumdrops remind me of. They’re tart and have a bright, refreshing flavor. The sugar coating on the outside really blends well with the tart flavor of the gumdrop. I would buy an entire bag of just this flavor.

Tangerine – I’m glad TJ’s decided to go with tangerine instead of the standard orange flavor. It’s a subtle flavor difference, but you can definitely tell it’s not just straight-up orange. It’s the sweetest of the four flavors, and it tastes exactly like a juicy tangerine. I’m not usually a big fan of orange-flavored things, but the slight variation/twist on the classic orange flavor is really nice.

Pink Grapefruit – The pink grapefruit gumdrops are reddish-purple in color. If I hadn’t known that this was grapefruit flavored, I wouldn’t have been able to tell. I would’ve just called it “citrus-y.” It’s a good flavor, but I guess I had higher expectations for it. I was hoping for something closer to a glass of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. It’s not bad, but it is a little disappointing.

Overall, these are pretty good. They’re nice and summery, which I’m guessing means they won’t stick around TJ’s forever. If you’re a fan of gumdrops/gummy candy, you should definitely give them a shot. The key lime and tangerine are the best flavors, but the other two are solid, as well.

3.5/5

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Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Price: $1.99
According to the package… well…there isn’t any product description, actually. I guess they expect it to speak for itself.

I discovered Trader Joe’s about a year ago, and I instantly fell in love. Before I ever went into one, I assumed it was some hoity-toity, expensive store (kind of like Whole Foods). Imagine my surprise when I realized it’s exactly the opposite and they actually have a lot of great prices. There’s a TJ’s right across the street from my college, so sometimes I stop in on my way home from class to pick up some lunch. Yesterday, I grabbed this.

Yeah, I know how the picture looks. Not good. And that’s entirely my fault – I popped it in the microwave (with a napkin on top to prevent sauce explosions all over my microwave) and then got distracted. I nuked it for a little too long, hence the burned, bubbly looking sauce around the edges. And the napkin pulled a lot of the cheese off, which was sad.

How does it taste, though? Delicious. There’s a ton of spinach in between the layers of pasta, which I wasn’t expecting. I thought it was going to be a mix of cheese and spinach, but there was definitely more of the green stuff than cheese. I’m not usually a big fan of cooked spinach, but it tastes really great in here. It’s not too watery (a problem I usually encounter with frozen, cooked spinach) and doesn’t taste too strong, either. Frozen pasta doesn’t usually have a great texture, but this one did. It wasn’t gummy or flimsy at all.

For $1.99, this was a surprisingly good lasagna. And it was huge. I was full after I finished it, but I didn’t feel weighed down or sluggish. Well done, TJ’s.

4/5

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Purchased at: Kroger
Price: $1.89
According to the bag… a light, crispy crunch! (Not much for a product description, huh? Maybe the taste speaks for itself.)

I love Quaker’s rice snacks – the caramel ones are awesome and I practically lived off of them during that week I tried (and failed at) Weight Watchers, because they’re sweet and I could eat them without feeling guilty. I also love creme brulee. How could these go wrong?

After opening the bag, all I could smell was vanilla. Artificial vanilla, but that’s what I was expecting. They smell heavenly. You know that vanilla sugar candle/body spray/lotion that every 14 year old girl loves and claims is her “signature scent” or something? Yeah, it smells like that. It’s fabulous. The smell alone made me want to dig in ASAP. And that’s exactly what I did.

The taste isn’t as overpowering as the scent, and that’s probably a good thing. The brown rice is the first thing I tasted, which may sound unpleasant, but it’s actually quite nice. After a few seconds, there was a faint vanilla/brown sugar flavor coming through. I was expecting these to be much sweeter (I thought they might taste a little bit like Trader Joe’s brown rice krispy treats – which are awesome, by the way – but they’re a completely different thing), but I really like the subtle flavors. A serving consists of 8 mini rice cakes, but I definitely ate more than that. They’re addicting. I devoured nearly half the bag while watching the Detroit Red Wings own the Phoenix Coyotes last night (probably not the most traditional game food ever, but definitely a guiltless one, with only 60 calories per serving). Their victory probably made these rice cakes taste sweeter than they really are, but that could just be speculation.

I loved these things. They’re sweet, but not too sweet. Definitely keep an eye out for these. (There’s also a new sea salt and cracked black pepper flavor, according to the website. My local grocery store didn’t have those in stock, but I’m betting they’re awesome, too.)

5/5

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Purchased at: Kroger
Price: $2.99 (15.2 fl. oz. bottle)
According to the bottle… 100% natural, flavored blend of 8 not from concentrate and from concentrate juices.

I’ve always looked at these juices at the store, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to purchase them because they’re SO pricey. $2.99 for a small bottle? Surely they can’t be that good, right? Well, today I had $2.70 in bottle returns (oh, one of the many joys of living in Michigan!), so I finally decided to splurge and try one out. So technically, I only paid $.29 for this juice. I can live with that.
The Berry Boost flavor sounded most appealing to me, because I love fresh berries and bananas, both of which are in this juice drink. Apple juice and apple puree are both in here, as well. (Isn’t apple juice in EVERY juice blend ever, though?) I cracked this bottle open right after I got home from the grocery store, because I couldn’t wait any longer.

How does it taste? Well, first off, it’s thick. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting this, since it has fruit puree in it AND it’s called a smoothie right on the label. The flavor is good, but I’m definitely picking up on the apple more than any berries, which is kind of disappointing. I’m not a big apple juice fan. It tastes fresh, though, and I do like the consistency. The flavor really, really reminds me of Gerber’s apple blueberry baby food, though (I lived off the stuff after I got my wisdom teeth taken out), and it’s only a little bit thinner than that. For $2.99, you could probably pick up about 3 or 4 jars of the baby food, but then…you’d had to purchase baby food for yourself. And that’s something nobody ever wants to do.

Overall, I do think this is really excellent juice. And it’s definitely healthy, too (500% of your RDA of Vitamin C! Fiber! Potassium! Iron!), but I still think the price is really steep and probably won’t buy it again unless it’s on sale.

3.5/5