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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Simply Balanced Organic Vanilla Bean Granola

Kind. Quaker. Nature Valley. Bear Naked. Even Archer Farms. There are a lot of granola brands out there these days. So what sets this one apart from the pack, other than Target's "Simply Balanced" moniker?

Not much. The ingredients here are mostly organic, which can't hurt. But flavor-wise, there's not really anything to set this above and beyond the myriad choices of vanilla-flavored granola gracing the shelves of Target and every other department and grocery store in America.

In a blind taste test, I doubt I could tell this apart from any Archer Farms brand selection from the very same shelf at Target. If anything, I think I might prefer the AF flavors I've had. But again, that certified organic label counts for something.

My wife's preferred granola has been Bear Naked for a while. That particular brand, too, was available on the very same shelf as this product at the last Target we visited. Although it's non-GMO, Bear Naked's version isn't necessarily certified organic.

The wife definitely prefers the taste of Bear Naked to this product for reasons she can't quite put her finger on. At first she said there might be an aftertaste here, but immediately took that assertion back. Then she said there might be a hint of something chemical-tasting in here. Odd, considering there are only a few non-organic ingredients. Perhaps it's the "mixed tocopherols"? Who knows?

Personally, I just taste another random vanilla-esque granola product. They tell me it's organic, so I believe them. I won't score it much higher or lower than any other vanilla granola we've looked at here or anywhere else.

While Bear Naked might collectively get 8 stars from the wifey and me, this product will score just slightly lower.

I give this granola 7 out of 10 stars.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Simply Balanced Organic Nacho Flavored Corn Tortilla Chips

We're finally staying close enough to a Target that I'd be okay with purchasing the Archer Farms non-dairy ice cream people have been raving about without fear of it totally melting on the drive back to the campground, and wouldn't you know it: they're totally sold out. Every flavor! Tons of Ben & Jerry's non-dairy at this Target near Olympia, Washington—but not a single pint of the Archer Farms brand. The universe hates me.

Oh well. Looks like a review of Archer Farms Doritos are in order. Er, Simply Balanced Doritos. Wait. Aren't Simply Balanced products, like, healthier than Archer Farms?

Well, you know, even actual Doritos have an organic version now. Healthy Doritos. I'm actually a fan of them. That's I guess what these are: organic, non-GMO Doritos. But Target brand. There's still sodium and all that stuff, but I certainly feel better eating an organic high-sodium diet. Not really. But hey, we're all gonna die anyway. So much for reducing my salt intake.

They're nice and rigid. Thick. Crunchy. Great for dipping. Even the heartiest salsas won't compromise the structural integrity of these tortilla chips.

Flavor-wise, they're similar to Doritos or other nacho cheese-flavored tortilla chips, but I think these might be a little less heavy on the cheese in favor of a more corny taste. If you like the taste of corn like I do, then that's a good thing. There's still enough orange powder to stain your fingers, but that's to be expected. They're not very spicy at all, however, that can be remedied with the salsa of your choice...obviously.

$2.99 for the bag. Pretty decent purchase, although you can often find the organic Doritos on sale for less than $3 in typical grocery stores. Surprised this product didn't come with a resealable bag. I guess they expect you'll eat them all before they go stale. That's a reasonable assumption. 

I give these Simply Balanced Tortilla Chips 8 out of 10 stars.

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.

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