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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Archer Farms Chai Spice Multigrain Oatmeal

Along the same lines as the Apple Streusel Walnut Multigrain Oatmeal, this convenient breakfast cup looks like any other run-of-the-mill oatmeal once you remove the lid and prepare it with hot liquid.

I almost always use milk, or some mixture of water and milk, and this product was no exception. I had actual cow's milk on hand this time, and it worked pretty well. And like I said, it looks just like ordinary oatmeal. But it certainly doesn't taste that way.

It tastes surprisingly like good-quality, spicy, milky, creamy chai tea. When one considers the thickness of the oatmeal made with milk, I suppose it's more like a hot chai latte than just regular tea. But it actually does taste like that.

The barley, rye, and flaxseed add a little to the flavor, of course, too, but the dominant taste was most definitely that of the black tea and its accompanying spices. The diverse grains create a nice hearty texture, and it blends together in a really pleasant way.

I really didn't expect chai-flavored oatmeal to work at all. I thought this product would be a total bust.

But I think this product is worthy of 8 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Archer Farms Peanut Butter Ice Cream Bites

Finally! Something that's been spotted on shelves recently and apparently pretty buzzworthy showed up at one of my local Target stores. And for that, I'm quite grateful, because these things are delicious.

A few years back, I looked at Archer Farms Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream—a close relative of these ice cream bites. To put it bluntly, I was underwhelmed with the quality of that ice cream. But this time, Archer Farms set the bar a little higher in terms of taste and quality.

This product is a peanut-lover's dream. The chocolate shell isn't bad either, but peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter swirl, and dry roasted peanut bits steal the show here. The ice cream is rich and smooth, and would make a great dessert all by itself. The peanut bits in the shell add some crunchiness and complexity to the texture of the product, as do the peanut butter ribbons—although I wish there were more of them. In fact, that's my biggest complaint: I'd ask for thicker swaths of peanut butter in the core of these tasty bites.

I'd also aim for a smaller size. I'm not sure who's taking the "bites" here, but he or she obviously has a huge mouth. Each piece is somewhere between the size of an ice cream bonbon and a Klondike Bar. They wound up being 3-4 bites each for me.

Also, I'm not sure if it was entirely necessary to individually wrap each bite, but it might have helped a bit in the portion control department—important when you're looking at 6g of saturated fat in a single piece. I know, I know, it's a dessert. You've got to live every once in a while. But still. Also wasn't particularly happy to see carrageenan on the ingredients list—a substance I've become wary of lately.

All things considered, these are worth a purchase, particularly if you love peanut butter like I do. There are a few other flavors of these ice cream bites popping up on Target's shelves. I'll try to take a look at those soon, too. Leave a comment if you've tried any of them.

I give these ice cream bites 9 out of 10 stars.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Simply Balanced Lime Fruit Juice Bars

Look: I have a sweet tooth, and I know it. I like sweet things. I get cravings for sticky-sweet, candy-esque things relatively often. I'm not proud of it, that's just the way my taste buds are wired. I also enjoy sour, tangy things. These frozen juice bars are both very sweet and very sour/tangy.

But I couldn't really get into them. If anything, they were too sweetjust super syrupy. I mean, sugar was very high up in the ingredients list, second only to water.  And then right after sugar is "apple juice concentrate," which, of course, is also extremely sweet. I mean, thank goodness they didn't use HFCS to sweeten these, but honestly, I think they could have made due with the apple juice alone.

They tasted and felt like concentrated margarita mix frozen solid into popsicles. Like I wanted to melt them down and add tequila, water, and salt just to dilute the syrupiness of the product.

On the plus side, they did indeed taste like lime. Somehow the tartness of the lime juice did power through the sticky sweetness of it all. And really, 90 calories per bar isn't all that bad when one considers how indulgent they felt and tasted.

I guess I was just hoping for a light, refreshing flavor, rather than the gooey, drippy, sickly-sweet product these turned out to be. After mowing the lawn on a hot summer day, I would definitely not turn to these bars for a cool down. I'd go for something a little thinner.

I give these fruit bars 6 out of 10 stars. 

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