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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Archer Farms Blueberry Streusel Breakfast Bread

My wife and I must have checked half a dozen Targets, but for some reason, the areas we've lived in and traveled through never seemed to have this or any of the other Archer Farms loaves of bread. In fact, one Target told us that they had completely stopped carrying Archer Farms bread products. At the time they told us this, we assumed they meant that Target had completely discontinued these products. We looked online, and it certainly appeared that other regions still had Archer Farms brand bread and dessert products like this one. So we never gave up hope. We kept up the search. Every Target we set foot in for a year or two, we'd check the food section just to see if they had any breads or streusels.

Finally, our long search has paid off. In a Target near Sonia's workplace in Moorestown, NJ, she discovered this Blueberry Streusel Breakfast Bread hiding on the shelf. And man, I tell you, it was almost worth the wait.

It's like really good cinnamon raisin bread, but with blueberries instead of raisins, and streusel instead of cinnamon. It goes great with butter or cream cheese, and one slice fits perfectly in a toaster. It's shaped exactly like traditional sliced bread. Sonia LOVED it. I was definitely a fan, but Sonia wouldn't stop talking about it. Even after the entire loaf was consumed, she kept saying she wanted more.
I don't blamer her. It's sweet, soft, satisfying, and full of pieces of actual blueberries. It definitely wasn't just for breakfast in our house. It's a perfect, convenient snack food, if perhaps a bit heavy and indulgent. I think we finished the whole loaf in two days.

It's better when toasted, but it's certainly not bad when eaten straight out of the bag, sans toppings. We're both huge fans. We'll be trying the other flavors (apple fritter and cinnamon raisin) as soon as we get the chance.

I give this bread 9 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Archer Farms Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookie Snack Bites

Leave it to The Impulsive Buy to spot new and exciting things on Target's shelves before I do. In my defense, many of the Target locations in my area seem to not carry a lot of their interesting newfangled items, such as Cupid's Crunch or Bunny Bait trail mixes. In fact, the employees at the stores I checked hadn't even heard of them (and sort of implied in a nice way that I might have been making them up or that they weren't real). But as you can see, if you follow the links above, they did, in fact, exist. However, I must admit I've been slacking and not paying much attention to new stuff at Target lately. I've just been taking it for granted that our sad local Targets won't get any intriguing new stuff.

Fortunately, they carry several varieties of these cookie-esque snack bites in resealable bags. I've tried two of them so far. This is the better one of the pair, and I'll get to that other one on this blog in due time.

First of all, if you like peanut butter cookies and Reese's Pieces type candies, you'll probably like these snacks. It's like someone took peanut butter candy shell treats and traditional cookies, smashed them up into bits, and then re-shaped them into little mounds of cookie crumbs and candy fused together with peanut butter.

They're a bit more messy than traditional cookies, but if you take fairly large bites when you're eating a cookie, you can probably just pop these "snack bites" into your mouth whole, thus avoiding some of the mess. They're slightly crispy, and they have a nice "mouthfeel" resulting from the combination of at least three distinct textures (cookie pieces, candy pieces, and the "glue" that holds them all together).

They're a far cry from the health-conscious Simply Balanced line of foods that Target has pushed so vigorously these past few years. It seems like Archer Farms might be the purveyor of tasty junk food now that Target's lighter fare has found a different identity. Not only is the second ingredient a partially hydrogenated oil, but there's a fair amount of saturated fat here, too—especially considering a "serving size" is only four bite-size pieces. If I took nutrition info into consideration—or, perhaps, if I valued my own life just a little more—I should probably have given these a lower score.

But they're tasty enough in my book to deserve 8 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Simply Balanced Coconut Granola Bars with Ancient Grains

My wife liked these more than I did. If it were up to her, these would have gotten 8 or 9 stars. I didn't really think they were all that special, as far as granola bars go. But they weren't terrible, either.

Flavor-wise, they tasted like plain granola bars with an essence of toasted coconut. I thought the coconut flavor could have been stronger, but Sonia liked it the way it was. She likened the flavor to macaroon cookies—not unlike the Coconut Macaroon Cereal we looked at last year. She's not wrong there, but I would argue that the cereal was just a little bolder in the taste department.

As far as "Ancient Grains" go, you couldn't really taste them independently of the granola and coconut. I think marketers like to add the phrase "ancient grains" as a gimmick these days. But hey, it's worked on me before. And it'll probably work again in the future. I just hope those trace amounts of amaranth and quinoa are working their magic behind the scenes and making me super healthy when I eat them.

Texture-wise, these granola bars are pretty much like any run-of-the-mill Quaker Chewy bar or a knockoff thereof. I feel like, if anything, these were a smidge firmer than traditional "Chewy" bars...but that could have just been my imagination. Plus, it's been a while since Sonia polished off the box, so I might not be remembering correctly.

All in all, snackable and convenient, but not particularly memorable in my opinion. I might have gone lower score-wise, but the wife loved them so much, I'll go with something a tad higher in the end. If you're interested in looking at the ingredients, just click here.

I give these Coconut Granola Bars 7 out of 10 stars.

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