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Monday, May 20, 2019

Simply Balanced Cucumber Mint Sparkling Water

Water? Why in the world would I review water when I haven't even looked at those vegan ice creams from Archer Farms?

Oddly, we're never staying close enough to a Target store. I'm always afraid the ice cream will melt completely before we get back to our campground. Water is already melted. It might pick up a little plastic flavor from the bottle in the hot sun, but at least it won't leak out of its container.

Anyway, on to the review. Plenty of carbonation, no calories, no fat, no sodium...all things I love. When it's ice cold, cucumber water can be very refreshing. They serve it in fancy waiting rooms. Just a few slices of cucumber and a sprig or two of mint can turn boring old water into a gourmet affair.

That's what they're going for here. I'd say it's a moderate success IF you like the flavors of cucumber and mint. You can taste both, especially the mint. If anything, I would have erred the product toward less mint, more cucumber, but that's just me. Mint can be refreshing, but it can also be very annoying if you aren't wanting a bunch of it.

Some might think consuming this beverage is a bit like drinking mouthwash. It's definitely more subtle than an actual mouth rinse flavor, but if you're not craving a blast of mint, it could be a little off-putting. I'd be happy to drink this if I were super hot or thirsty, but in general, I'd prefer one of the fruit flavors.

Cucumber by itself might be a little better for general thirst quenching purposes.

I give this sparkling water 6 out of 10 stars.



Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Archer Farms Toasted Coconut Trail Mix

When you're hiking around in the desert, you're obviously going to crave one thing in particular: water. That goes for times when the desert isn't even that hot. It's just dry. Even when it rains, the air is drier than the climates that I'm used to.

But once that immediate need for water is met, I, personally, get a craving for some snacks. This trail mix really hits the spot. It's not super salty, which is good. I mean, I'm trying to cut back on salt since I might have high blood pressure and seeing some family members have strokes and other health concerns makes me want to avoid those trials later in life if I can.

That said, I must admit this trail mix isn't super healthy in the sugar department. There's a good bit of added sugar, and it's quite sweet.

For that reason, it doesn't take much to satisfy an immediate case of low blood sugar or a minor sweetness craving. Both the wife and I really enjoy this trail mix, but we've been nursing the bag for well over a week now. It just doesn't take much of it to satisfy our snacky sweet-tooths.


The coconut cashews are the base of the mix. They're sweet, coconutty, and have all the deliciousness of regular whole cashews. There are plenty of coconut chips and almonds, which help temper the sweetness of the mix. The dried fruit is also sweet, and it furthers the tropical vibe to the mix.

The overall flavor is very complex, but the main essence is, as the title would suggest, very reminiscent of toasted coconut. The nutty and fruity flavors give it something even more special. They actually import the coconut from Sri Lanka and the mango from Thailand. It makes the product all the more exotic, I suppose, though certain consumers might wonder why we couldn't source these fruits from our own continent for carbon footprint reasons, if not our own country, for "America first" type reasons. I won't get too political on this blog, since I don't in general, but seeing such notes on product packaging does make one raise an eyebrow once in a while.

Archer Farms/Target might have relied more on the natural sweetness of the fruits and coconut and added less sugar to this mix. I think it still would have been quite satisfying. As is, this is still a very tasty, if perhaps a bit desserty, trail mix.

Another winning snack from Archer Farms. $4.99 for the bag. We definitely would consider buying this one again.

I give this trail mix 8 out of 10 stars.



Thursday, March 7, 2019

Archer Farms Bunny Kisses

I wasn't aware that bunnies gave kisses. 

I mean, dogs will lick your face, and we call them "dog kisses." I suppose bunnies might wiggle their noses next to your nose, akin to an "Eskimo kiss," but when done by a rabbit, we could call those "bunny kisses." 

Is "Eskimo kiss" considered culturally insensitive these days? If so, just pretend I said "Inuit kiss." If we're still not there, then let's go with "display of affection by indigenous northern circumpolar people."

Ahem, back to the bunnies. I absolutely love animals, but I must say, bunnies just don't do it for me. I mean, they're super cute, but when compared to a dog, or even a cat, there's a serious dearth of personality there, at least in my experience. Maybe I've just been around particularly vacuous bunnies in my life. Not sure.

Likewise, these bunny kisses are cute—or, well, perhaps "visually appealing" works better here—but the food inside is a little disappointing if you ask me. 

There's an allure to the packaging, for sure. It's Eastery. Laden with pastels, pretty fonts, and a resealable bag, the presentation game is well-played. The colorful candy bits are fun and I'm a big fan of white chocolate.

However, by the time I opened the bag, most of the candy bits had fallen from the corn and were swimming around at the bottom of the bag. I thought the white chocolate and caramel clashed with each other a bit. I got a second opinion from my wife, and she agreed. We both wish they'd been coated in caramel OR white chocolate, but not both. I would have gone with white chocolate myself, but Sonia said she'd happily take either. Together, they just don't work somehow.

It's still a sweet, salty vernal treat, and it doesn't taste terrible. It's fun to eat by virtue of its festive-ness and joviality factor. I would have simply left out the caramel and called it "candy corn." Oh wait. That's already a thing. "Candied corn"? "Popcorn candy"? Yeah, either of those would work.

These Bunny Kisses get 6 out of 10 stars from me.


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.

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