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Purchased at: CVS
Price: $1.00 (on sale)

This Vitamin Water is a black cherry and lime flavor. Not only are those two of my favorite fruits (and fruit flavors), but Dan Ellis once Tweeted about how much he liked it. Yeah, all it took to get me to buy this was an unpaid endorsement posted on Twitter by a hockey player whose team I don’t follow. I’m easy.

This stuff smells really great when you open the bottle – light and fruity, with a definite cherry aroma. I’m not really picking up any lime, though. I wasn’t expecting the cherry to smell so strong, but it’s okay.

The cherry smell is so noticeable because this is probably about 99% cherry flavored and only 1% lime, if that. I didn’t smell any lime, and I certainly didn’t taste any, either. Like all other Vitamin Water flavors, this also tastes pretty watered down – imagine what a watered down bottle of Nyquil would taste like, and this is what you’d get.

1.5/5

Review: Pretzel M&Ms

June 8, 2010

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Purchased at: Target
Price: $.67

I’ve been on a mission to find these things since I first read about them a month or so ago, and I finally stumbled upon them at Target this afternoon. I was in the checkout lane and was just getting ready to pay for my stuff when the little blue bag caught my eye and I grabbed it as fast as I possibly could. The cashier gave me a weird look, and I just shrugged and said “I love chocolate covered pretzels.”

I could barely wait to tear into these things. I’m not a huge fan of sweets (I like them, but if I’m given the choice between something sweet or something salty, 99% of the time I will choose the salty), so the idea of M&Ms with pretzels inside of them really appeals to me.

These M&Ms are pretty big – about the size of the peanut M&Ms. And I might be crazy here, but I did think that the candy coating on the outside was thinner than it usually is. And there isn’t a ton of chocolate either. The pretzels have a nice crunch and aren’t overly salty, and the texture/flavor of the pretzels really works well with the chocolate and the candy coating. Texturally, they remind me of the crispy M&Ms (which I loved) that were out a few years ago.

These M&Ms are also a lot healthier than most items you’d grab from the candy display at the checkout line at a grocery store. One package only has 150 calories and 5 grams of fat, which isn’t too bad for a mid-afternoon sugar craving. I will definitely be buying these again if I can manage to find them anywhere else.

4.5/5

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Purchased at: Kroger’s
Price: $.60 (on sale)

My first thought upon seeing this yogurt was “How the hell do you make yogurt taste like cake?” And then I looked to the right of this container and saw that there was also a red velvet cake flavored yogurt and thought “you’ve GOT to be kidding me.” For only $.60, I couldn’t go without trying one of these two flavors. Pineapple upside down cake won in the end, because it sounded less likely to make me gag. Red velvet flavored yogurt sounds bizarre and WRONG.

The best part about pineapple upside down cake is the buttery brown sugar crust that forms on the bottom of the pan. There is no argument about that being the best part. It is, without a doubt, the only reason people like pineapple upside down cake so much. Obviously, you can’t get a gooey, buttery, brown sugary crust on yogurt. It’s missing. And I’m not getting any flavor even remotely similar to the crust in this yogurt.

I’m also pretty sure that this is just plain vanilla yogurt with small pieces of pineapple in it. The base of pineapple upside down cake is a yellow/vanilla cake, so…it’s passable, I guess. It’s good yogurt – it’s smooth and silky, with nice pieces of pineapple swirled throughout it. That tang that is characteristic of so many yogurts (which I’m not a fan of) is not present in this one at all.

Points for good consistency and no tang.
No points for false promises of a healthy alternative to one of the most delicious cakes known to man.

3/5

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Purchased at: Kroger
Price: $1.88 (on sale)

I’ve already mentioned on here that I am not a big fan of Lean Cuisine products. I’ve had a few good ones, but they usually leave me unsatisfied (both in terms of taste and portion size). Their pizzas are the worst frozen pizzas I’ve ever tried. So why the hell would I get a flatbread melt, which appears to be a bunch of fillings thrown on top of some pizza dough? I don’t know, maybe I’m just a masochist.

The picture up top is what this looks like once it comes out of the microwave – you can see the chicken pieces, peppers, cheese, and sundried tomatoes. So far, so good. There is one thing that seems to be missing, though. There is supposed to be some sort of basil pesto on here, but I sure don’t see any. Anyway, what happens next? You pick it up and fold it in half, like so:
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I think it looks like a gordita from Taco Bell. In fact, you cold totally tell me that this was Taco Bell’s attempt at a cheesy chicken flatbread or something and I would believe you.

Let’s start with the bread. There’s a dusting of cheese on the outside that gets nice and crispy (and golden brown) when you cook it. I don’t think it tastes like much, but for a microwave bread, this is pretty damn good. It doesn’t get soggy or mushy with all the toppings, so I can’t complain.

The fillings are surprisingly good, too. The chicken is definitely better than most microwave chicken dishes – I didn’t pick any pieces out, which I’ve been known to do. In fact, I was hoping for a little more chicken than there was. The red peppers and sundried tomatoes are nice, but forgettable. The cheese is pretty good, too. Nothing here really stands out. It tastes good, but it doesn’t taste like much of anything. That pesto that I mentioned earlier? It’s there, but barely. If I was a judge on Top Chef and this was served to me, I would call the entire thing “inoffensive.” Is it bad? No, not even a little bit. Is it great? Nope. It’s a decent meal that I would definitely buy again if it were on sale, because it’s quick and easy. The flavors aren’t bold, but they’re there. I won’t run out to the store to buy another one, but I finished the whole thing and felt satisfied after eating it.

3.5/5

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Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Price: $2.99 (makes 16 cookies)

I’m going to be honest here. I’ve had this box of cookie dough in my freezer for about a year now. I made them a few times last summer, but then they got pushed all the way to the back behind a giant bag of ice and various other frozen foods. I rediscovered them yesterday, with only about 5 cookies missing from the box. I pulled them out and made two for a quick mid-homework snack.

The color of these cookies was a little bit off…they were sort of a greyish tan, though I’m willing to bet that’s my fault. I like soft cookies, so I underbaked them a little bit (the box recommends 12 minutes for soft/chewy cookies, and I went with 10). The edges got nice and crispy, but the middles were still raw and gooey. Just the way I like them! Cooking these things could not be any easier – you throw some parchment paper on a cookie sheet and plop however many preformed cookie dough balls onto it. Wait 10-17 minutes (depending on what texture/degree of crispiness you like) and, voila! Cookies. Hot and fresh from the oven. And you have zero dishes to do. Amazing.

How do they taste? Pretty good! The cranberries are a little sweeter than I would prefer, but it’s okay because there aren’t too many of them. If I had to guess, I’d say there were about 4-6 cranberries in each cookie, which is a pretty good balance. The oatmeal does a good job of counteracting the sweetness, and the dough is delicious. It tastes faintly of brown sugar and vanilla. I made two more for a snack today because I liked them so much when I rediscovered them yesterday.

If you’re in the mood for something quick, easy, and sweet, these cookies are great. They aren’t as good as homemade cookies, but they’re a great substitute if you’re running low on time (or if you only want one or two cookies).

3.5/5

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Purchased at: CVS
Price: $.99

I’m not a big fan of kettle cooked chips, but I was looking for something with a little bit of a kick to it when I was at CVS this morning. I finally narrowed it down to these chips and some cheesy bbq flavored Cheetos. I was intrigued by the Cheetos, but also slightly disgusted. The kettle cooked chips won out in the end.

These things smell AWESOME when you open the bag. There’s a little bit of spice, but not too much. They also smell salty and greasy, which happen to be my two favorite things about potato chips. There are little flecks of green on the chips, because, duh, they’re jalapeno flavored.

I would have liked a little bit more heat from the chips, though. The jalapeno flavor is bright and tangy, and the spice slowly creeps up on you. I never felt that they were too spicy, and it was a pleasant heat – not insanely uncomfortable or annoying at all. I was still able to taste the other flavors of the chips over the heat (salt, potatoes, possibly vinegar?). In fact, they were so good that my “I’ll just try one or two for right now” idea turned into “downing the whole bag in about five minutes.”

4/5

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Purchased at: Walgreen’s
Price: $1.49 (+$.10 deposit)

I love summer for a few different reasons, but one of my favorite things about the season is the fact that every single soft drink company seems to roll out a new line of flavors. Most of them are variations of existing flavors, but that’s okay. I fall for the gimmick every time. When I heard that Pepsi was unveiling a new flavor, I was excited. But then I saw what it was and…to be completely honest, I thought this already existed.

How does it taste? I like it. It’s sweet and doesn’t have the aftertaste that most diet sodas have. The cherry flavor is what I noticed first, but the vanilla comes through as well. It reminds me of the Diet Pepsi Jazz that was out a few years ago (they had three flavors – caramel, berries and cream, and strawberries and cream) – specifically, the berries and cream flavor. It’s good. I loved the Jazz sodas and was pretty disappointed when I couldn’t find them anymore. I’m a diet soda addict, so this is perfect.

One of my biggest (and only) complaints about this Diet Pepsi is the fact that it wasn’t very carbonated and seemed to go flat really quickly. However, I had this in my car on a hot day (90+ degrees F) without air conditioning on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of the reason the carbonation kind of fizzled out.

4/5