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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Simply Balanced Peanut Butter Baked Corn Puffs

So...I don't know if you picked up on it from the "baked corn puffs" part of this product's name, but these are basically cheesy poofs with peanut butter instead of cheese.

I'm not really sure how I feel about them even after trying them. My biggest issue is that they seem to be stuck somewhere between "sweet treat" and "savory snack." If they boosted the sugariness just a bit, they'd definitely fall in the former category. If they bumped up the rich peanut butter level, they might fall into the latter group.

If they were just a little sweeter, I could almost see these working as an ice cream topping—or if you had the reckless abandon to go where most adults never would, you could serve them with a little bowl of chocolate sauce to dip in. You'd have something Reese's-esque, and I dare say they'd be pretty tasty that way.

As they stand, they're surprisingly non-calorific. Unlike traditional cheesy puffs or "cheesy poofs," I can actually taste the corn base here. It's not overpowering, but it's there. And it's enough to compete with the peanut butter flavor just a tad. Corn and peanut butter isn't really a classic flavor combo, if you ask me. So one way or another, they need to bump up the peanut butter's potency here.

They're bite-sized, which is convenient. Small enough that you can hold several in your hand at once, but large enough that you don't feel the need to cram more than one in your mouth at a time. As we've seen with other Simply Balanced snacks, these corn puffs come in a resealable bag.

The texture is pleasant, with a crunch typical of other baked corn-based snacks. The peanut butter coating lends a smooth waxiness to the product. Fortunately, it doesn't stain one's hands like the fluorescent coating of a traditional cheesy poof.

I might have gone with a lower score, since I can't see these being a repeat purchase as is. But I really like the concept and I think these could be stellar with just a few minor tweaks to the recipe.

As they stand, I give these baked corn puffs 7 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Market Pantry Fruit Punch Liquid Water Enhancer

I must confess I thought this was an "energy" water enhancer with caffeine and such when I purchased it. I saw "infused with B vitamins" and just assumed, wrongly, that there would be caffeine as well.

But I have plenty of use for non-caffeinated water enhancers, too. Whether you're looking to replace expensive energy drinks or any other type of beverage, these little bottles of concentrated flavor can save big bucks in the long run—basically generic Mio.

And as far as flavored water additives go, this one is pretty tasty. It tastes like a typical sugar free fruit punch. There's a bit of that tart, unpleasant aspartame type taste that lingers on the tongue, but that's pretty common with water enhancers in general.

Just to clarify, this product does NOT contain aspartame, but there are about a half dozen other unpronounceable chemicals present, not to mention Red 40. Probably not great for you, but let's all hope that we're ingesting them in such small quantities that it'll take a really long time to actually kill us.

Zero calories, $2.97 for the bottle, B vitamins, 24 servings, and a flavor that's not entirely revolting?

I give this product 7 out of 10 stars.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Archer Farms Bunny Bait Trail Mix

I searched high and low for this product last year. I looked in Targets in southern New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, and northern Delaware, but to no avail. Perhaps the hunters in the region were actually using the product to catch bunnies during small game season, so Target was asked to remove the product from its shelves...

Just a theory.

The small game hunters of central North Carolina are not subject to such restrictions, at least not this year, as I procured some of the coveted trail mix at a Target store near Charlotte a week or two ago, with a little help from my better half.

We placed some of the mixture outside our RV in a nearby field. But alas, no rabbits were attracted to the stuff. A few squirrels came near, but even they didn't touch this trail mix, clearly formulated for woodland rodents.

Actually, I'm just kidding. I think they made this stuff for people. Because to people, it tastes really good.

Both Sonia and I think the honey roasted peanuts are a bit out of place. I mean, they work perfectly well by themselves, but in this mix, they seemed a little strange. The confetti cookies, yogurt-covered raisins, M&M's, marshmallowy things, and white chocolate-covered pretzel balls all worked well together.

I'm not sure why this product, like another recently-reviewed festive trail mix, didn't have the word "indulgent" emblazoned on the side of the packaging to let you know that if you consume this product on the regular that, you know, you'll get fat really fast...or in some cases, fatter, as the situation may be. But, ahem, that's neither here nor there...

If you look closely, you can see in the picture that the product is very salty, as there are granules of salt all over my hand, not just on the product itself. It's a salty-sweet kind of situation, which works pretty well overall. I just wouldn't be heartbroken if they had replaced the peanuts with something else in this case.

With Easter just a little over a month away, the pastel colors of this festive mix are fun and seasonally-appropriate. A bag of this stuff would be a great addition to a kid's Easter basket. Or an adult's Easter basket.

I give this product 8 out of 10 stars.

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