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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Good & Gather Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes aren't exactly a summer food in my mind. They're more of a fall/winter side dish—a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas time—but every once in a while, I get a craving for them just the same, even if it's hot outside.

We picked these up for the second time just recently. The first time we had them, it was around the holidays, and they had the luxury of being served with stuffing, corn, and cranberry sauce, all of which mixed together and helped their flavor a bit. This time around, we just had them as a side with some sandwiches we made. We added salt, pepper, and a few other random seasonings, which provided a significant boost in the flavor department.

It's not that they taste bad by themselves. They're just a bit on the bland side, despite the fact that there's "whole milk and butter" already in there. I guess you sacrifice a bit of quality and flavor for the convenience factor. You can taste a hint of butteriness, and they're also fairly creamy. They just lack the earthy root vegetable flavor you might get from freshly mashed homemade potatoes.

The texture is very nice. It's thicker than a lot of pre-packaged mashed potatoes. There are small chunks of potato throughout the mixture, which makes it feel a bit more rugged and hearty. Maybe that's where the "Yukon" factor comes in. You know? Nothing's smooth out on the wild Yukon frontier. Not even the mashed potatoes. Or maybe they harvested the potatoes from the Yukon...? 

There is an inviting warm yellowish hue to the taters, hence the "gold" part of the product title.

Here's a link to the nutrition facts, as the photo that we snapped of them was unreadable due to the glare-factor.

At any rate, these GAG Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes are easy to prepare. They've got a pleasant look and texture, and while nothing to write home about in the flavor category, they'll do in a pinch, especially if they're dressed up with spices and/or gravy and paired along with other sides.

I give these mashed potatoes 7 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Archer Farms Savory Mustard Trail Mix

When I started dating my now wife, Sonia, one of the first things I noticed about her was that she ate a lot of mustard. She slathered a good percentage of her food in large quantities of the stuff. I called her "Mustard Mouth" since I could often smell it on her breath. There are plenty of worse things your breath can smell like, so I didn't mind.

As a child, I hated mustard. Back in my late twenties, I grew to appreciate it moderately. After 10 years married to a mustard connoisseur, I enjoy it even more than I did a decade ago. It's a very flavorful condiment, and remarkably low in calories and fat, considering its potency.

Now I'm not even sure if this particular product is available at Target currently, but I liked it enough that I thought I'd do a post on it. It says it's "limited edition," so that may mean it was only on shelves for a short time. It may return some day or they might make it part of their permanent collection, or they may re-tool it a bit and release it under the Good & Gather moniker. 

If you like mustard, I say pick it up if you get a chance. It's definitely mustardy, although some pieces have more mustard tang than others. It's quite salty, too.

The only element I wasn't in love with was the rye chips. They weren't particularly mustardy, and they seemed a bit bland and dry to me—a little like eating cardboard.

The seasoned pretzels had the most mustard flavor—not unlike your typical "honey mustard and onion" pretzels, but with significantly less sweetness. This is a "savory" mix, after all. Not surprisingly, the peanuts, almonds, and other pretzel elements all worked very well with the mustard flavor. I'd definitely buy this mix again if I ever see it smiling back at me from that forest of trail mix bags. 

I don't recall how much this particular mix was. I'm pretty sure it was discounted from its original price at the time I bought it, which means it was probably significantly less expensive than those $7 or $8 per bag versions. That's probably more evidence that it was on its way out. Too bad. As a mustard fan, I really liked it.

I give this trail mix 8 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Good & Gather Organic Peanut Butter Poppers

I'm sure I've mentioned it on this blog before, but I looove peanut butter. Always have. I love the condiment itself, I love peanut butter candies like Reese's Pieces, I love peanut butter and chocolate together, I love peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter cake, and even the recent Peanut Butter Falcon film, unfairly snubbed by the Academy this past year.

And of course, I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I like peanut butter and jelly trail mix. I even like peanut butter and banana sandwiches, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, AKA Fluffernutter. Pretty much anything goes with peanut butter...except peanut butter and pickles or peanut butter and bacon. People who enjoy those combinations should take a cold shower immediately and check themselves into the nearest mental health facility.

So I, like many of you, have my opinions about peanut butter. As much as I love the stuff, peanut butter cereals are a sketchy subject. 

While I wouldn't eat peanut butter solo with cold milk, I feel like peanut butter and chocolate desserts go well with milk. That's why cereals like Reese's Puffs work, at least marginally, in my opinion. Peanut butter dessert cereals are usually a safe bet. It's much harder to pull off a "healthy" peanut butter cereal, by my estimation. 

I like plenty of healthy cereals. Kashi, raisin bran, muesli, oats, and shredded wheat are all pretty decent in my book, so you can't accuse me of only eating junk food for breakfast. But in this particular case, I just feel like there needed to be a stronger sweet peanut butter flavor. The taste of the grains was too prominent against the taste of the peanut butter. I think it would have worked fine if it had been just an organic multigrain cereal...or if they'd pushed it just a tad in the direction of "peanut butter treat" rather than "peanut butter health food."

The texture was grainy and crispy, with just a hint of oily peanut butteriness. It was pretty similar to something like Kix. Not bad.

The leftover milk wasn't particularly peanut buttery. It tasted more like the constituent grains: corn, oats, rice. Drinkable, but not in a fun way. These peanut butter poppers aren't inedible, but I probably won't purchase this one again.

I give this cereal 6 out of 10 stars.

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