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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Archer Farms Roasted Pepitas

Pepitas. Pumpkin seeds.

They're not much to look at. They're almost like little baby stinkbugs. But they don't taste half bad. And they're great for protein and fiber. Sure, they've got some fat, too. But it's that good fat that we've heard so much about.

These pepitas come in a handy resealable bag and they're covered in sea salt. They taste pretty fresh straight out of the bag, and they last a long time by virtue of the ziplock and the plentiful salt. Our bag has a freshness date of July 28, 2019. So we're still in the "best by" zone, even though we bought these during the fall—I wanna say October. They've been in our RV pantry drawer ever since, and probably opened for at least half of that time.

Apparently, these are just a seasonal item. They aren't available in stores or online at this point. So I guess this review will come in handy when you're shopping this coming fall in about seven or eight months. I'm assuming Target will bring them back.

If you've ever taken a pumpkin and tried to roast the seeds yourself, you'll know that they usually have a white-ish shell on the outside. It's perfectly edible, but the good part is the seed kernel, which is all you're getting here. I'm not sure if they have a machine that can take off those outer shells or what, but it's incredibly annoying to do it by hand. Yet more convenience with this product. Yay!

Not much to complain about here, but it's also not earth-shatteringly different for any reason, either. There's still some seeds in the bag after nearly 5 months, so this isn't my favorite snack of all time, but I'd consider buying them again if I ever got a hankering.

I give this bag o' seeds 7 out of 10 stars.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Wondershop Marshmallow Cocoa Topper

Other than bringing the holiday cuteness, this product isn't impressing me very much.

Presentation-wise, there's nothing to complain about. Two beautiful snowflakes in a see-through wrapper, right? Obviously. They even shimmer in the same manner as real snowflakes. Who knew sugar crystals could look so dazzling? It's the second product we've seen from the "Wondershop." Like the last product we looked at, this one isn't particularly pricey. It, too, would make a good stocking stuffer.

But if you've only got a buck or two to spend, I'd definitely go with the white chocolate bark over these snowflakes, particularly if you're more concerned with the taste of the product rather than exterior aesthetics. Also, this product is 50 cents more than the birthday cake dealie.

Flavor and taste aside, the first thing that jumps out at me about these snowflakes—from a practical standpoint—is that they don't fit in a coffee mug. Pretty sure the radius of all our mugs is exactly the same. I'm sure there's a bit of deviation from mug to mug, but in general, they're all gonna be in the same ballpark as the mugs that we have. And the snowflake doesn't fit!

As you can see in the pic above, there was some awkward stuffing and squeezing involved to get the snowflake to rest on top of the cocoa, with part of the flake submerged below the surface like a virgin crystal falling from the sky only to land in a dirty mud puddle by the side of the road. And I'm well aware that my hot cocoa stirring was messy and erratic. Oh well.

Taking bites from the snowflake after a simple dunk or two in hot chocolate is similarly frustrating. It's just not a very tasty marshmallow. It's slightly better once completely dissolved in the beverage, lending a pleasant bit of sweetness, but it also yields an unpleasant chemical flavor.

There are hydrogenated oils and a few other weird things listed in the ingredients. It's not like you'll be consuming a ton of them just from one or two snowflakes in your cocoa, but I'm sure there are other ways to create a pretty hot beverage topper that doesn't require trans fats or chemical nonsense.

In the end, this product won't kill you. It is packaged and presented well, but don't expect more than sub-par fluffy sugar in the taste and texture department.

I give this cocoa topper 6 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Wondershop Birthday Cake White Chocolate Mini Bark

I'm not sure if you can call it "bark" when it's just a slab of plain white chocolate with a few sprinkles on top.

But call it "bark" they did. And by "they," I mean Target. And by Target, I mean the Wondershop at Target.

Cool gimmick I suppose. Put all the holiday-themed stuff under a new moniker. They've already got Market Pantry, Archer Farms, and Simply Balanced—not to mention all the non-food related brands like Up and Up. Bring on the Wondershop, baby.

This particular treat is small, sweet, and festive. Why it's called "birthday cake" just because it's made of white chocolate, I'm not sure. We've seen this from at least one other brand.

It's clearly meant to be Christmassy. Perhaps it's meant just for those with December birthdays, or maybe it's meant as a sort of "Happy Birthday to Jesus" kind of sentiment. Whatever their intentions, they nailed the stocking stuffer vibe perfectly with this $1 piece of candy.

You can see the entire product in my hand for scale. It's not huge. It's not fancy. The sprinkles add nothing but color. But if you like white chocolate or know someone whose stocking you'll be stuffing that likes white chocolate, well, here you go. This exists. Pick one up at Target. I know you'll be there at least a dozen times between now and Christmas.

Is it good white chocolate? Well, it's a buck...and it's not bad white chocolate. So, there you have my in-depth, very helpful review.

I give this slab of white chocolate optimized for stocking stuffing 7 out of 10 stars.

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