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Monday, April 13, 2015

Archer Farms A Handful of Everything Trail Mix

A handful of...everything? Everything? Well, they seem to have left out a few things, including pork, nougat, caviar, shredded cheese, and orange juice.

Not that any of those ingredients would have made this a better trail mix. On the contrary. I'm just making sure readers know that by "everything," Archer Farms means dried fruit, yogurt-covered peanuts, chocolate, almonds, raisins, and coconut. As it is, it's pretty tasty.

At $3.99 a bag at my local Target, this is one of the least expensive trail mixes AF has to offer. They go all the way up to $7 a bag! For that price, there had better be caviar in there...or something else really gourmet-ish.

Most of the ingredients in this bag are relatively healthy, except for maybe the chocolate chips. My wife and I agree that the chocolate really isn't necessary here, nor is the moderate amount of added sugar. There's plenty of sweetness from the banana chips, raisins, dried mangos, pineapple, and yogurt chips.

Honestly, I wouldn't have minded a few more nuts in the mix to counterbalance all of the sweetness. But all things considered, this is a delicious, energizing snack that would be great to keep one's blood sugar up if hiking or biking or what have you.

I'll absolutely be trying and reviewing more of AF's trail mixes, so stay tuned. Keep those comments coming, check out and "like" our Facebook fan page, and as always, thanks for reading!

I give this trail mix 8 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Archer Farms Apple Streusel Pancake & Waffle Mix

There's nothin' like having dessert for breakfast. It's always nice when you can dress up a sweet treat and pass it off as a breakfast food, whether it be cereal that looks and tastes like cookies or pancakes that look and taste like streusel. I guess breakfast is the best time to have those things, because you've got all day to burn off the calories.

But this dish wasn't the sugar extravaganza I thought it might be. It's really not that sweet at all. The "cinnamon streusel crunch" added a bit of sweetness, but it baked right into the pancakes themselves and became part of the bread. The pancakes wound up with slightly charred, blackened edges where all the topping was.

As far as apple flavor goes, there wasn't much of it. The bread part didn't taste like apple at all. There were a few small bites of actual apples baked into the pancakes, but I think this product could have used a lot more apple pieces. Once you poured maple syrup on the pancakes, the maple-flavor pretty well drowned out the apple-flavor.

It didn't taste much like cinnamon to me, either. It had neither the sweetness nor the appliness of apple streusel. They were basically just normal pancakes with a few small apple bits baked into them.

This product could have really used an apple-cinnamon flavored syrup. That might have given them just enough flavor and sweetness to warrant calling them "apple streusel pancakes."

As they are, I think they're a bit of a let-down, especially if you're hoping for something super-appley. My wife felt the same way. "They don't taste bad," she said. "They just don't really taste like apple streusel to me."

I agree.

I give this product 6 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Simply Balanced Coconut Pineapple Essence Water

In lieu of a season-appropriate product like Cupid's Crunch Trail Mix, which is unfortunately not available at any of our nearby Targets, we're going to take a look at this "essence water" today, which was on sale for something like 69 cents at a local Target a few months back.

In its favor: it's light and moderately refreshing. I think it would be better in the hot summer months—perhaps after an afternoon of grueling yard work or sports. It would make a nice, lightly-sweet thirst-quencher. It's only 10 calories, yet its main sweetener is real sugar. I think that's where the "essence" part comes in—it's mostly water, and all the other ingredients are there in just enough quantity to add a minimal amount of sweetness and flavor. It's not an overbearing taste at all.

But there are plenty of things working against this product, too. For one, this flavor, in my opinion, just didn't taste that good—and I generally enjoy anything coconut and/or pineapple-flavored. Had the taste been more than an "essence," I would have liked this product even less. I think I'd rather drink half a cup of real pineapple juice and then just chase it with regular water. Also, in addition to real sugar, there's a sweetener called "rebiana" near the end of the ingredients. I guess they used it to keep the calorie count so low. But still, there is a tiny hint of that artificial sweetener taste that lingers in your mouth just a bit after you finish drinking the product.

I'm wondering if these beverages were on sale because they're on their way out...anybody else tried them? I found a review of the blood orange flavor that's a bit more positive than this one. Maybe that flavor is just better...? Or maybe I'm just being more critical...? Either way, I think 6 stars is about all I can muster for this happy yellow beverage.

I give this drink 6 out of 10 stars.

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