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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Archer Farms S'mores Granola

Ah, s'mores. Nothing brings to mind camping, ghost stories, the smell of wood smoke, and fond memories of boyhood like s'mores. And now it's a cereal at your local Target.

Dessert for breakfast. I love it. Carbs to keep you going throughout the day, spiked with sugar to jump-start your heart and get your sleepy head in the game.

If you're hoping for a breakfast that tastes exactly like a real s'more, you might be slightly disappointed here. There's not a lot of that graham crackery flavor in this breakfast cereal. It's more like granola with some cocoa-flavored pieces and mini marshmallows—the kind that you find in certain packets of instant hot cocoa. It's sweet, it's crunchy, and there's enough sugar and chocolate left in your milk at the end of the bowl to make it super-chuggable.

My wife loved this even more than I did. She thought there'd be too much chocolate flavor (is that even possible?) but was pleasantly surprised at how "well-balanced" the flavor was.

I just wish there were actual bits of graham cracker in the mix. The granola is fine and provides a good base for the cereal, but in my humble opinion, it's not grahammy enough to be authentically s'morey. Still a very tasty product.

I give this granola 8 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Archer Farms Blueberry Mini Muffins

When I was a very young lad growing up in Hershey, PA, my parents threw a grand soiree for their friends featuring home-baked goods to be shared by all the attendees. Only one other youngster was in attendance—my best friend at the time, whom we'll call Phillip for the sake of this blog post.

He and I were staying out of the way of the adults and were looking to get into a bit of mischief. We began sampling the desserts and pastries at opportune moments here and there when our parents weren't looking. There were pies, cakes, tarts, and a random assortment of cookies. At the end of the table, I spied a basket of blueberry muffins. I don't know what it was about those things, but I fell in love at first bite. I handed one to Phillip. His eyes lit up as he bit into the fluffy muffin. We were both completely enchanted by these treats. I was young enough that these might have been the first blueberry muffins I'd ever had. They were soft, sweet, and nearly perfect in every way.

Phillip and I consumed the entire basket within minutes, giggling as we devoured each one. We left only crumbs and blueberry stains across the bottom of the empty serving container. Suddenly, it dawned on me that our parents and their guests wouldn't be particularly pleased that there were no more blueberry muffins to be served at their party. Surely enough, as we hid out in my bedroom, we heard my mother scream my full name, middle included, and we knew we were in for it. I got a spanking and a stern lecture and Phillip was immediately escorted home. It was one of my earliest memories of corporal punishment—and certainly not my last—but at least in this case, I actually deserved it...all thanks to those delicious blueberry muffins.

These Archer Farms muffins were good enough that history almost repeated itself—except instead of getting in trouble with my parents, it was my wife doling out the corrections this time around. I had already eaten a few of the muffins for breakfast and I was exceptionally hungry after a long hike, and I wound up consuming the whole rest of the container. My wife did get a couple of the muffins in this case, before I managed to polish off the last few—and she liked them enough that she was hoping to go back for more.

It might just be because I was particularly hungry, or that I just always crave blueberry muffins ever since that incident when I was young, but I simply can't give these a low score. They went down pretty easily. Probably not the healthiest muffins I've ever consumed, but hey, it's the holidays. I'll take these blueberry muffins over Christmas cookies any day.

I give these muffins 8 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice Almonds

As a child growing up with a plethora of food allergies, I always felt fortunate that none of them were to nuts of any kind. I had to avoid foods like wheat, milk, and sugar, so naturally, I had all varieties of nuts as a snack on many occasions. My childhood favorites were macadamias, filberts, and pecans...and, of course, almonds.

Although I don't often wind up snacking on macadamias and filberts, mostly because of their relative lack of availability and/or high price, I still enjoy pecans and almonds fairly regularly.

Thanks to treatments and changing body chemistry, the vast majority of my food allergies eventually dwindled and subsided—so the sugar and milk powder in the ingredients here don't pose a threat.

Good thing, because these snacks are tasty.

There's a healthy dose of pumpkin spice mixed in with the coating here, but the creamy sweetness of the white chocolate can still be detected. As you can see there in the window on the bag, the snacks are just slightly larger than normal almonds, egg-shaped, and robed in two different shades of autumnal veneer.

Each almond is whole and pristine. There's more than enough nutty flavor coming through in the mix. I'm actually surprised to see that "white chocolate" appears above "almonds" on the ingredients list.

And of course just a little pumpkin spice goes a long way, so the "less than 2%" of spices including cinnamon still flavors each bite quite adequately. Even though it's not mentioned specifically on the ingredients, I taste something decidedly nutmeggy here, much like the Pumpkin Spice Pretzels I tried recently.

I think this bag was $2.99 here in South Jersey. Not something I'd crave outside of October and November, but a nice seasonal snack if you ask me.

These almonds get 8 out of 10 stars from me.

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